Slow Food for Thought...

“Defending the earth means safeguarding biodiversity, the landscape and farming. Those who haven’t seen the importance of farming haven’t understood anything!”
Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Event Recap: Ohio Honey Bee Lecture & Tasting

Over lunch with Lucy Wellhausen of Ohio Honey this past spring, Slow Food Northern Ohio leaders began discussing the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) affecting honeybee populations around the world. So many questions were raised, we thought it would make an excellent topic for a Slow Food event. If we had questions, then others surely did too. Maybe we could help provide some answers and dispel some of the mysteries concerning CCD.

A quick search for local authorities on the matter uncovered Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture: the Magazine of American Beekeeping — published right here in Medina, Ohio! Another call was made to Lola pastry chef, Cory Barrett to ask if he would like to do a brief presentation on cooking with local honey. An event was in the works.

On Monday, July 31, Slow Food Northern Ohio and the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes jointly hosted a forum to discuss the importance of honeybees to our farmers, our eco-system and our food supply. Over 100 people attended the event which included lectures, a local honey tasting, and a sampling desserts featuring local honey prepared by Pastry Chef, Cory Barrett of Lola.

Flottum provided an enlightening view of the complexities facing bee populations today. He also helped us cut through some of the hype and hysteria surrounding the CCD topic. No, CCD is not caused by cell phones and aliens are probably not abducting out honeybees. Flottum explained that CCD may be the result of many factors that together could be causing tremendous stress on our honeybee populations. Poor weather conditions, various pests such as mites, the use (or misuse) of certain pesticides and fungicides, and viruses all have a potential impact on the health and well-being of honeybees. Commercial beekeepers who rely on transporting bees cross-country and push their bees the hardest, seem to be the ones hardest hit by CCD. While there are no easy answers to the CCD issue, we learned about emerging research that may provide more answers. And, on a positive note, the CCD problem has generated much more awareness about the role honeybees play in our food chain and is helping create more conscientious beekeepers.

Lola Pastry Chef, Cory Barrett led a discussion on the joys of cooking with honey. Attendees learned how to enhance the flavor and texture of baked goods by substituting honey for sugar.

Everyone enjoyed the tasting of local honey. Beekeeper, Lucy Wellhausen of Ohio Honey provide a selection of honeys including strawberry, wildflower, Basswood, and buckwheat. Slow Food members and first-year backyard beekeepers, Anne Brosnan and Dean Bredenbeck also provided samples of their wildflower honey.

Guests also had the opportunity to taste a variety of pastries prepared by Cory Barrett including Honey Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Play Dough (his childhood favorite), Honey Tea Cakes and Truffle Honey served with Buttermilk Blue Cheese. (Cory has kindly shared his recipes which we've included below.)

If you are interested in learning more about beekeeping or issues involving honeybees, we encourage you to subscribe to Bee Culture magazine to learn more. Visit for more information.

Our thanks to the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes for hosting this event, to our speakers, Kim Flottum and Cory Barrett for sharing their knowledge and to our guest beekeepers for sharing their delicious honey!

Honey Recipes
(compliments of Cory Barrett, Pastry Chef, Lola)

Honey Pound Cake
1 cup flour
1 cup eggs
1 cup melted butter
½ cup honey
½ cup sugar
1T vanilla extract
2t baking powder

1. Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix until homogeneous.
2. Bake in greased loaf pan for 1 hour at 350, or until toothpick comes out clean.
(Yes it’s really that easy!)

Mom’s Peanut Butter Play Dough
1 cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 cup non fat dry milk powder

Mix honey and peanut butter together with mixer, and slowly add milk powder until desired consistency is reached.
(Easy Again.)

Truffle Honey
1 cup honey
pinch salt
1T truffle paste (available in gourmet stores or online)

Mix all ingredients together; serve with cheese, fruits, vegetables, also delicious with grilled meats and roast pork.
(Easy, are we seeing a theme here.)

Honey Vinaigrette
½ cup honey
½ cup oil
½ cup vinegar

Whisk ingredients together, and season with salt and pepper.

Please enjoy the flexibility of this recipe and use different types of oils, vinegars, a spices, and ratios to adjust to you liking. Examples: White Balsamic, Wild Flower Honey, EVOO… My Fave Red Wine Vin, Buckwheat Honey, Black Pepper, Evoo Lemon Juice, Clover honey, Herbs, Grape Seed oil. And on and on and on…

Honey Tea Cakes
(OK, easy stops here.)
10 eggs
150g heavy cream
350g sugar
270g pastry flour
5g baking powder
100g warm clarified butter
zest of 2 lemons

1. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, and zest together. Slowly mix in eggs, and then cream. Finally mix in warm clarified butter.
2. Bake @ 350 for 10 min, in mini muffin pans or small silicone molds and allow to cool slightly.
3. After cooling for about 15 min immerse cakes in syrup recipe that follows.
4. After dipping allow cakes to sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes and dip in syrup one more time. Serve immediately or chill dip again before serving. ( I had to throw in one pastry chef recipe. HA!)

Honey Syrup
225g water
175g honey
juice of 1 lemon

Heat, strain, and chill well before using.

Keep in Touch!

If your email changes, please let us know. Send email to to update your contact information.