Jams & Honey From Pen Y Bryn Apiary, Dolgellau
I’m not great at accents, as has previously been proven by my describing a Scotsman as Irish (yes, really!) but there was no mistaking the lovely Welsh lilt coming out of Carys Edwards mouth, it was as sweet as the honey produced by her bees. As well as farming, Carys has 120 (!!!!) bee hives to look after – she would like to double that number too! In addition to producing raw honey, Carys also makes a range of jams, preserves and marmalade with honey in, and very kindly gave me a jar each of the marmalade, Strawberry jam, and Gooseberry jam to take home and sample.
Whilst I was stood nattering away to her and taking in the atmosphere at the Fine Food North show I tried some of the Gooseberry jam on a piece of Welshcake and it was delicious; the smoothness of the honey came through first and then the cleaner, tarter notes of the fruit crept up on my palate. I thought the balance of the two elements was perfect and couldn’t wait to see what the marmalade was like. I was planning on combining this with some Peanut Butter on my croissant, but thought I’d best try some on its own for the purpose of the blog review...any excuse to eat another croissant. This food reviewing malarkey is such hard work – not!! Personally I like my marmalade to have some ‘chunk’ to it, so I was a very happy birdie to see that Carys includes plenty of peel from the Seville bitter Oranges she uses in this beautiful item. As with the Gooseberry jam, there was a superb balance between the fruits’ zing and the rounded mellowness of the honey; sometimes mass-produced jams and marmalades make my teeth ‘chatter’ because they’re overly sweet, but this morsel didn’t – it did make my taste buds dance with glee though.
After the deliciousness of the marmalade and Gooseberry jam, I couldn’t resist having some of the Strawberry jam on a slice of toast for a mid-afternoon snack – purely to keep my energy levels up whilst I was working, you understand! The Man Bird joined me and we both said how fruity this was; the honeys’ natural character seemed to intensify the bounce of the Strawberry. This was far superior to anything we’d tasted before, and has certainly gone into our ‘favourite’ pile. Another thing we really liked was the amount of fruit you could actually see in the jam – way more than even the ‘best’ extra fruit, mass produced ones. I suppose I ought to confess at this point to my extra bit of sneaky gluttony... when His Nibs had gone back to his desk I popped a slice of sourdough into the toaster and slathered some of the Gooseberry jam on it. It’s a hard life sometimes!
For more information, head to www.penybrynhoney.com or check out the Facebook page: pen y bryn apiary.
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