Monday, January 18, 2016

Jessamine Eden

We've come to Jessamine Eden with our neighbors Lorna & Noel, our Irish neighbors at the Seaglass place. It is in the Grand Etang Valley, a multi acre apiary/ nursery. Jessamine Eden won the UK NHS Best Honey of the world! So nearly every dish has some touch of this liquid gold. There is also beautiful grounds, where the nursery started from chaotic bush just six or seven years ago!

Jerry took us on a hike of the grounds while Val prepared lunch.  We were seated in a what appeared to be a long greenhouse in the shade nestled next to a bubbling stream just 20 feet away.

Lunch started with 3rd*** season honey with lemongrass and nettles tea. Next was Cream of Tania* soup topped with fresh thyme. Everything so well presented and intriguing.
Third course is: avocado, goat cheese drizzled with honey hot sauce on a bed of fresh spinach leaves.
So good I feel a hint of guilt! What?

Avocado, goat cheese salad
Main course is  fish baked in a banana leaf with okra & Calaloo**.  Sides of  white yam, pigeon peas, home maid whole wheat bread. 
Baked fish with star fruit and tomato garnish.

Dessert includes Nutmeg Honey Cake with nutmeg flesh (the outer layer around the nut) preserved in honey .  It is soaked for one year creating a slightly fermented flesh and liquor. 

We were fortunate to be served in the large kitchen/family table instead of the public area. It's a real way to be introduced to the culture here in a foodie heaven sort of way. 

Now the honey tasting. We tried the 1st , 2nd and 3rd extractions.  Each gets darker and more complex.  Only the first, the honey of the Glerry Cedar tree and wildflowers, mostly was as light as we are accustomed to getting in the US.  The 2nd seemed just perfectly balances. Not to heavy or strongly flavored. But then I suppose it depends on how you are using it. It's one thing to taste in on it's own but another to combine it with other foods, right?

After this the hosts, Jerry, a compliance lawyer for a day job and honey man with Val Jessamine, an ecological engineer for a day job, hosted us on the verandah with wine and Yata's songs about islands (Cocobutter) and Ireland (I am of Ireland & The Lake Isle of Innisfree, where there can be found 'a bee loud glade') on Val's guitar. A local wren sang harmony!

*Tania is a root a type of Taro root.
** Calaloo us a leafy spinach like green used extensively in southern Caribbean cooking.
*** Third season means its the third extraction of the growing season, when many plants are in flower for the bees. It's darker and more complex in flavor. 

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