The Best Ways To Enjoy Chicago's Local Honey Bounty This Fall
By Chicagoist_Guest in Food on Sep 13, 2017 8:00PM
By Amber Gibson
Summer may be waning, but September is National Honey Month, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy local and regional honey around town. We've rounded up some of our favorite ways to celebrate that linden flower-y taste you get from urban apiaries in Chicago and the vital role of healthy bees in our intricate ecosystem. Check them out, below, and let us know if we've missed any of your favorite local honey haunts.
WHERE TO EAT
Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
Chef Guy Meikle doesn't need a vinaigrette for the watermelon and roasted beet salad at Humboldt Park's hot new Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar. Instead, he drizzles the light salad with black pepper infused Hidden Acres Farm wildflower honey and sprinkles it with sea salt, sheep's cheese, lemon basil and caraway-sesame brittle. “This honey feels like home to me,” Miekle says. “The floral notes behind it are beautiful. The honey tastes very of the area since the wildflower bees are collecting the natural assets of the Midwest.”
Heritage is located at 2700 W. Chicago Ave.
Katherine Anne Confections
Katherine Duncan replaces the corn syrup typically used in caramels with local wildflower honey from Sunny Hill Honey, a third generation farm in Harvard, Illinois. “I love the way honey works with the caramel, adding a floral flavor,” she says. “Especially in the honey vanilla, you really get that fragrant, almost lavender note. The rosemary sea salt is also a standout, with the herbal rosemary really accenting the honey.” Duncan grew up making caramels with honey from their neighbor and when she started Katherine Anne Confections in 2006, she tweaked an old Fannie Farmer recipe so it's all honey, no syrup.
Katherine Anne's is located at 2745 W. Armitage Ave.
The Greek yogurt parfait at Harvest Restaurant at Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile is not your standard hotel breakfast. Sure, they make their own granola, but everyone does that. What really makes this parfait stand out is the honey from the hotel's four rooftop beehives that's drizzled on top. “Our hives are a real source of pride for me and my staff,” Executive Chef Frank Sanchez says. “It helps our planet and our environment.” They've had honeybees for a decade, long before it became the trendy thing to do. The honey has a hint of lavender from the rooftop garden and is also used in craft cocktails at the bar, to make beer with Brickstone Brewery and in desserts like crème brûlée and honey rosemary shortbread cookies.
Harvest Restaurant is located at 540 N. Michigan Ave.
The peach pizza at The Florentine pairs soft and stinky taleggio cheese and aged bresaola with sweet peaches and peppery arugula, all topped off with a drizzle of honey. Executive Chef Zach Walrath uses honey from Homer Honey Farm in Homer Glen, Illinois. He discovered the honey entirely by chance one day while buying farm fresh eggs with his girlfriend. “I feel like bees are a very important part of our ecosystem,” he says. “You can help sustain this by using local honey since many farmers now are raising their own hives.”
151 W. Adams St.
WHERE TO BUY
You can join Chicago Honey Co-op's CSA to support local beekeepers throughout the year. Your $75 share is good for your choice of local honey along with exclusive mead and comb honey that isn't normally available at farmers markets. The Co-op has 50 hives spread throughout the city and sells honey to the public at Saturday Green City Market and Sunday Logan Square Market.
Local Foods carries raw honey from Heritage Prairie's organic farm and Beelove's urban apiaries along with honey and creamed honey from Ames Farm in Minnesota. Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine also carries single-source raw honey from Ames Farm at all four locations.
If you're interested in becoming a beekeeper yourself, Chicago Honey Co-Op has a great collection of resources and hosts beekeeping classes each winter and summer. And the Hive has just about everything you need to get started.