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Sweet Inspiration at Honey Summit 2017 For Food and Beverage Professionals

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The National Honey Board (NHB) had the privilege of welcoming some of the country’s top foodservice industry professionals to Honey Summit 2017, held in late July at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in St. Helena, Calif. The esteemed participants included representatives from Jamba Juice, Wendy’s, Sun Basket, Landry’s/Chart House, and more.

The Honey Summit served as an in-depth, multi-day immersion experience that included a presentation by trends forecaster Suzy Badaracco of Culinary Tides, honey varietal tastings by CIA’s Chef Almir DeFonseca, a honey and spirit pairing session by Master Mixologist Kim Haasarud of Liquid Architecture, not to mention a visit to a local apiary, and plenty of hands-on innovation in the CIA’s pristine kitchens.

The summit kicked off with an opening night dinner at Archetype in St. Helena, featuring a honey-inspired menu created for our group by Executive Chef Anthony Paone. Two honey cocktails were featured, followed by three choices each of starters, entrees, and desserts – all incorporating honey. Every item was delectable; however, the Housemade Pumpkin Bread Toast with Cashew Cheese, Honey, Bacon, and Blueberries seemed to create extra buzz among our decidedly foodie group.

Then, for the next day and a half, Honey Summit participants took a deep dive into the world of honey, learning about honey’s versatility, functionality, and range of flavor profiles. Lastly, they leveraged their newfound knowledge to create innovative honey-inspired drinks and dishes. Here is just a sampling of the items our illustrious group came up with at Honey Summit 2017:

  • Orange Blossom Honey Lemonade with Strawberry Ice Cubes
  • Seared Halibut, Honey Parsnip Puree & Honeycomb Gremolata
  • Honey Marinated Eggplant Chip Topped with Herbed Cheese
  • Honey Roasted Figs with Herbed Ricotta
  • Honey Pickled Strawberry Salad with Candied Pepitas
  • Lobster and Black Truffle Ravioli with Orange Blossom Honey & Cashew Cream
  • Buckwheat Honey Cured Smoked Scallops
  • Blueberry & Honey Crostata

Needless to say, while we set out to inspire our Honey Summit participants about honey, ultimately they inspired us -- with their talent, enthusiasm and new ideas for honey-inspired food and beverage applications.  We are happy to count these food and beverage professionals among our Honey Summit alumni, and look forward to their future honey inspirations – perhaps some of them coming to a menu near you.

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