An Italian meringue prepared with honey, nougat and fruit confit, on a red berries sorbet…

The heritage of honey in Orlando dates back 500 years…

That’s the new award-winning signature dish for Orlando, Florida. The city of Orlando held a culinary competition which called kitchen creatives to build a mouth-watering dessert to celebrate the heritage of honey. This love affair with honey dates back 500 years when citrus trees and European honeybees landed in Central Florida.

It’s surprising to learn that citrus trees and bees have a unique relationship. You see, citrus is self-pollinating which means they don’t need bees. In this relationship, it is the bees that need the trees to gather raw material for their honey production.

The ability to produce honey in the Orlando area is so great that “cottage industry” honey prices are at a premium as hobby beekeepers take advantage of our desire for authentic, pure honey.

I recently learned from a beekeeper in my own state of North Carolina that not all honey is of the same quality. She carefully harvests honey from her hives, being sure to leave enough for the bees to feed on in order for them to get the natural benefits of the honey they collect. Some commercial honey operations harvest every drop of this liquid gold and then feed the bees with corn syrup, which lacks the rich nutritional properties found in natural honey.

This mindful harvesting practice may be one of the reasons small-scale backyard beekeepers in Orlando, Florida are able to sell their honey for as much as $10 per pound. Well worth every ounce when you taste the difference.


Photo Attribution: Copyright of Visit Orlando

The winning dish, “Orlando’s Honey Nougat Glacé,” is an Italian meringue prepared with honey, nougat and fruit confit, on a red berries sorbet from Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri.