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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Honey/Sugar/Syrup

GIFT OF THE DAY: Gourmet Coffee Syrup For Coffee Lovers

These artisan coffee syrups are handmade to
order. Photo courtesy Java & Co.


People who enjoy a hit of flavored syrup in their coffee will love these handmade syrups from Java & Co.

Made to order, the syrups begin when Java & Co. freshly roasts the coffee beans, from which they brew fresh coffee. The flavors of the coffee are infused into cane sugar syrup. That’s how different these syrups are from those available in coffee shops and supermarkets, which typically use off-the-shelf extracts to flavor their syrups.

Add sweetness to your coffee, in five popular flavors:

  • Original: Colombian Coffee, the classic.
  • Original Dark: Epresso infusion, dark and smoky.
  • French Vanilla: French Vanilla coffee infusion, smooth and silky.
  • Java Nut: Hazelnut coffee infusion—rich and buttery.
  • TiRUMisu: Dark Jamaican rum is added to the coffee infusion for a dark, bold flavor.

    The elegant bottles of syrups are affordable:

  • One bottle in a drawstring bag, $16.00
  • One bottle in a gift crate, $19.00
  • Two bottles in a gift crate, $36.00
    More information or to purchase.
    The coffee syrups can be used for more than just coffee. Use them:

  • Atop the “breakfast group”: pancakes, waffles, French Toast, oatmeal and yogurt.
  • As a dessert syrup on bread pudding, other puddings, ice cream and tiramisu.
  • In beverages: cocktails (such as a coffee Martini) and with club soda to make coffee soda.
  • As a glaze for meat, salmon and other seafood, and vegetables; turkey and yams; in barbecue sauce.
  • With salads: In a vinaigrette, instead of honey; mixed with mayonnaise in chicken salad.
    The only limit is your imagination!


  • Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Fancy Sugar From Chambre De Sucre

    If you like to set a beautiful table, you need Chambre de Sucre. The company, whose name translates to “The Sugar Room,” makes the most beautiful artisan-crafted sugars we’ve seen.

    From orbs in white, pastels and brown demerara sugar, to rainbow and amber crystals, to flower-decorated rounds and squares, these sugars bring the wow factor to coffee and tea service.

    There are affordable sugars for everyone on your list: memorable gifts that make any special occasion more special.

    Anyone who entertains—or who likes beautiful things—will be enchanted by Chambre de Sucre. Read the full review.

    See all the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.


    One of the 20 beautiful expressions of sugar
    from Chambre de Sucre. Photo courtesy
    Chambre de Sucre.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Real Maple Syrup

    With maple syrup, as with most things, you’ve got to pay attention to the details.

    The next time you drown your pancakes in sweet syrup, ask yourself what you’re pouring on that stack. Do you know the difference between maple syrup and pancake syrup?

    Many bottles of what appears to be maple syrup are simply bottles of corn syrup with maple flavoring—but the picture of syrup-doused pancakes on the label makes you think otherwise.

    The contents may be sweetly pleasing, but they’re not maple syrup. And the U.S. government won’t allow it to be called maple syrup—“pancake syrup,” “rich syrup” and other terms are devised by manufacturers.

    Here’s what’s in a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s:


    What’s that on your pancakes: artificially flavored corn syrup? Photo by Stuart Burford
    | IST.


    High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, salt, cellulose gum, molasses, potassium sorbate (preservative), sodium hexametaphosphate, citric acid, caramel color and natural and artificial flavors. Ingredients are similar for Aunt Jemima, Hungry Jack and Log Cabin syrups.

    That’s quite far from natural maple syrup tapped from the tree!

    Take The Taste Test

    If you think you like commercial pancake syrups, try a side-by-side taste test. Buy a bottle of the real deal. The label will say 100% Pure Maple Syrup and there should be just one item on the ingredient list: maple syrup.

    And that maple syrup has wonderful uses, far beyond breakfast.



  • On oatmeal, crunchy cereal and biscuits
    Lunch & Dinner

  • Glaze chicken, duck, pork and salmon
  • Glaze a juicy baked ham
  • Glaze carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes
  • Drizzle on baked or mashed butternut squash
  • Add to vinaigrettes, marinades, barbecue sauces and chutneys
  • Add to baked beans
  • Sweeten applesauce

  • Use as a syrup on ice cream or rice pudding
  • Sweeten baked apples (just fill the centers of cored apples and bake)
  • Replace some of the sugar in pecan pie and gingerbread cookies
  • Pour onto a crunchy cereal


  • Sweeten iced tea and coffee
  • Sweeten hot chocolate
  • Make a maple martini

    Buy your favorite cut of pork: belly, loin, chop roast—there’s really no way to go wrong (see our Pork Cuts Glossary for inspiration).

    Slather that pork in maple syrup, and hit it generously with some kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Then roast it the same as you normally would (the lower and slower the better, in our opinion). Baste with syrup often, ideally using some of the maple-icious pan drippings.

    You can also reserve the drippings and blend them into mashed potatoes or polenta for a sweet spin on a favorite comfort food.

    From pancakes to pork chops, 100% real maple syrup makes all the difference.


    What’s the difference between Grade A and Grade B; or Grade A Light Amber, A Medium Amber and A Dark Amber? It’s the strength of the flavor, with Grade B the most robust. Details.



    PRODUCT: Buy A Bottle Of Honeydrop, Save A Bee

    Three of six varieties of Honeydrop bottled teas and juices. Photo courtesy Honeydrop.


    When Honeydrop Beverages debuted in 2009, everyone at THE NIBBLE loved the juice and tea drinks sweetened with a tablespoon of wildflower honey. We gave the drinks—more nutritious and lower glycemic alternatives to sugar- and HFCS-sweetened beverages—an enthusiastic review.

    The company has since expanded the line: Green Tea, Lemon Tea and Lemon Ginger Tea have joined Blueberry, Blood Orange and Chamomile Tea flavors. The honey is sourced from regional beekeepers across the U.S. The drinks are all-natural and have only 70 to 90 calories per 14-ounce bottle.

    The company has launched a “Buy a Bottle, Save a Bee” campaign. A percentage of profits from each bottle sold is donated to help fight Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), an epidemic threatening the global bee population. The funds help American beekeepers build and maintain new beehives, in order to replace the nearly 30% of honeybees lost each year to CCD.


    Why Should You Care About Colony Collapse Disorder?

    Since 2006, the honeybee population has been diminishing at an alarming rate, from a spectrum of causes known as CCD. More than producers of honey, honeybees are essential to pollinate one-third of all the produce grown in the U.S.—including 90% of apples and oranges and 100% of almonds grown, plus melons, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and numerous other crops. It’s a little-known problem that can seriously impact our food supply.

    Bee a friend: Buy a bottle of Honeydrop!

    Honeydrop is certified kosher by OU. The suggested retail price for the 14-ounce bottle is $1.99.

    Honeydrop is available at leading natural and gourmet grocers nationwide, including Whole Foods Markets. There’s a store locator on the company website.

    Learn all about honey in our Honey Section, including types of honey, pairing honey with other foods and honey trivia.

    One of our favorite honeys is spreadable creme honey from Honey Ridge Farms. In original and in fruit flavors, it couldn’t be more delicious, on your table or as a gift. Honey Ridge Farms also makes lovely honey-flavored vinegars.



    TIP OF THE DAY: The Sugar To Agave Conversion

    Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is a wonder food. It has a natural sweetness that’s more elegant than table sugar—never cloying or “sugary.” Its glycemic index is 32, half that of sugar (GI 60-65) and more than 40% less than honey (GI 58) and pure maple syrup (GI 54). It’s diabetes-friendly.

    A teaspoon of agave has 20 calories; sugar has 16 calories and honey has 22 calories. But since agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, you don’t need to use as much.

    It follows that when you’re cooking or baking with agave, you need to use less. Agave is also 20% moisture, so you also have to reduce the moisture when baking.

  • Substitute 2/3 cup agave per 1 cup sugar.
  • Reduce other liquids by 1 fluid ounce per 2/3 cup agave nectar.
  • Reduce oven temperature by 25°F and baking time by 5%.
    The best conversion, of course, would be to have a book of favorite recipes converted and tested with agave.


    Agave nectar is one of our favorite
    products. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.


    Alas, there’s no one great book of agave recipes (publishers take note!). Those that exist have as many critics as fans. Here’s one to take a look at: Baking with Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener.

    More Agave to Sweetener Conversions

  • Brown Sugar: For each cup of brown sugar, substitute 2/3 cup agave; reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup. Because the moisture content of brown sugar is higher than that of white sugar, liquids may not have to be reduced as much.
  • Brown Rice Syrup: Use 1/2 to 1/3 as much agave; increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/2 cup.
  • Corn Syrup: Use 1/2 as much agave; increase other liquids by up to 1/3 cup.
  • Honey: Replace each cup of honey with 1 cup of agave syrup.
  • Maple Syrup: Replace each cup of maple syrup with 1 cup of agave syrup.
  • White Table Sugar: For each cup of white sugar, substitute 2/3 cup agave; reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. This substitution also works for demerara sugar, evaporated cane juice, Sucanat and turbinado sugar.
    Find more information at

    All About Agave

    Here’s everything you need to know about agave nectar.



    TIP OF THE DAY: New Ways To Enjoy Honey

    Our last tip for National Honey Month is courtesy of Ford’s Honey Farm in Newport, New York. How many ways can you enjoy honey?


  • Poke a hole in the center of a warm biscuit. Fill the hole with honey and enjoy with meals or as a snack.



  • Drizzle over yogurt and granola
  • Mix with butter for a honey butter spread
  • On bread or toast, English muffins or bagels
  • On French toast, pancakes or waffles
  • Over cold or hot cereal
  • In hot drinks: coffee, hot chocolate, tea

    Lunch & Dinner

  • As a glaze
  • Drizzled over sweet potatoes or carrots
  • With the bread basket, in addition to, or instead of, butter

    Drizzle honey over fruit, such as roasted
    figs (above) or fresh-cut apple slices. Photo
    by Scott Karcich | IST.



  • Drizzle over ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • In cakes, pies and cookies, instead of sugar
  • In the center of a baked apple

  • As a dip for fruit (apples dipped in honey are a favorite)
  • In iced tea
  • In smoothies and shakes
  • Mixed with peanut butter as a spread
  • Right off the spoon, when you need a sweet treat
    Other favorite uses? Tell us!


  • Types of honey based on processing techniques
  • The different forms of honey
  • How many monofloral honeys have you tried? There are numerous different types.


    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Fix Crystallized Honey

    Like most foodstuffs, honey does best in a location that is cool and dry. Store honey at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

    Never put honey in the fridge; it accelerates the crystallization.* When honey crystallizes, the texture becomes “crunchy”—not a pleasant state for most people, but still safe to eat.

    Crystallization is a natural process that occurs when glucose, one of three main sugars in honey (along with fructose and sucrose), spontaneously precipitates out of the supersaturated† honey solution and takes the form of crystals.

    All honey will ultimately turn to sugar crystals—some in months, some not for years.

    * Other terms for crystallization include sugared, granulated, solidified and crystallized. The crystals may be large or small, grainy/sandy or smooth.

    †The supersaturated state occurs because there is so much sugar in honey (more than 70%) relative to the water content (often less than 20%).


    It’s pouring freely now, but what can
    you do when it crystallizes? Photo by Vaskoni | IST.


    How To Fix Crystallized Honey

    Simply place the honey jar in a microwave-safe container with the lid off, and microwave it for 30 seconds. Plastic containers may not be microwaveable, so transfer the honey to a microwave-safe receptacle (we use a Pyrex measuring cup with an easy-pour lip) and then return the honey to the container. Another tip: spray the measuring cup or dish with cooking spray so the honey will flow back into its container more easily.

    If you don’t have a microwave, you can place the jar in hot water and stir occasionally until the crystals dissolve, about 10 to 15 minutes.

    How To Keep Honey From Crystallizing

  • Temperature. Honey resists crystallization best when kept at less than 70°F, according to the National Honey Board.
  • Variety. Each type of honey crystallizes at a slightly different rate. Look for varieties with lower-than-average rates of crystallization such as acacia, clover, cranberry, raspberry, sage, sourwood and tupelo.
  • Unprocessed. Raw and semi-processed (such as strained) honey will resist crystallization longer than processed‡ honey (supermarket honeys are pasteurized to reduce crystallization).
  • ‡ Processing removes grains of pollen and extraneous solids. The process typically heats honey to 150°F to 170°F.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Every Last Drop Of Honey From The Jar

    Photo courtesy National Honey Board


    It’s National Honey Month in a recession. Today’s tip spans both topics: how to get the last drops of honey from the jar.

    As the honey is used up and the jar contains mostly air, there is invariably honey at the bottom of the jar that hardens, resisting the ability to pour or spoon it out. Here’s how to get out that last spoonful:

  • Brew a cup of tea.
  • Pour some of the tea into the honey container.
  • Cap and shake the container. The honey will dissolve into the tea.
  • Pour the contents into your tea cup and enjoy.
    This trick not only gets the last drop of honey out, but it also cleans the container for recycling.


    Honeybees must visit two million flowers to make one pound of honey! More honey trivia.


    The Honey Bear® bottle, shown in the photo above, is a registered trademark of the National Honey Board.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Spread Creme Honey On Toast

    September is National Honey Month. Why not try a new type of honey?

    If you’ve never had creme honey before, it’s a real treat. In many countries around the world, creme honey is preferred to the liquid/syrup form and is used instead of jelly or jam.

    Creme honey (also known as churned honey, cremed honey, honey fondant, sugared honey, spun honey and whipped honey) is brought to market in a finely crystallized state.

    While all honey will crystallize over time, creme honey is intentionally crystallized via a controlled process so that, at room temperature, the honey can be spread like butter.

    Honey, a natural product, is better for you than refined sugar-laden jam. And honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar.

    Use creme honey:

  • On toast, scones, biscuits and other breads.
  • On pancakes and waffles.

    Treat yourself to creme honey. Photo by
    River Soma | THE NIBBLE.


  • In your favorite cooking or grilling sauces and marinades.
  • In a vinaigrette (stir in half a teaspoon).
  • As a cheese condiment.
  • As a topping for desserts: Make a fat-free hard sauce by mixing creme honey with a splash of brandy. Serve over pound cake, toasted angel food cake slices or quick breads.
  • And of course, any type of honey can be used as a sweetener for tea and other beverages.
    Treat yourself to our favorite creme honey, from Honey Ridge Farms:

  • Honey Creme Trio In Apricot, Blackberry & Clover.
  • Honey Crème Trio In Cranberry, Cinnamon Spice & Raspberry.
  • Two flavors of your choice.
    The line is certified kosher parve by Oregon Kosher.

    More About Honey

  • History Of Honey: Where did honeybees come from, and when?
  • Types Of Honey: Can you name at least five types of honey?
    What’s the difference between creme and cream? Why is it creme honey instead of cream honey?

    Crème, pronounced KREHM, is the French word for cream. In America, French recipes were served at the tables of the wealthy, many of whom knew how to pronounce crème de légumes (mixed cream of vegetable soup).

    As these recipes entered the mainstream, people who did not know French began to pronounce crème as cream. Some people dispensed with the accent mark, and now we have a mashup of French and English. If you were to write “cream honey,” you would not be incorrect; however, the industry has adopted crème or creme.

    The word for honey in French is “miel” (pronounced mee-EL).



    NEWS: Aspartame Is Still Safe

    For the time being, have all you want!
    Photo courtesy Merisant.


    Artificial sweeteners are often the subject of controversy. Since these sweeteners were approved by the FDA in 1974, critics have alleged that the original research supporting their safety was flawed and that conflicts of interest marred the approval process.

    The safety of aspartame has been confirmed by regulatory authorities in more than 100 countries, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization.

    Studies on the safety of artificial sweeteners are ongoing. As part of a continuing review of scientific studies on aspartame, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a statement on two new studies.

  • One study found that aspartame induces cancer in the livers and lungs of mice. The EFSA concluded that the results presented did not provide a sufficient basis to reconsider its previous evaluations on aspartame.

  • In a second study, the authors found an association between intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and pre-term delivery. The EFSA assessment concluded that there is no evidence available to support a causal relationship between the consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks and pre-term delivery, and that additional studies would be required to reject or confirm an association.
    Read the full article.

    What’s the difference between aspartame (Equal), sucralose (Splenda) and all the other noncaloric or low-calorie sweeteners? Here’s the scoop.



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