the sweet taste of summer; GOLDEN NECTAR OF THE GODS

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These are the main premium honeys available in Britain. They are from specific sources which indicate a certain character and style, as compared with the more uniform commercial brands, where honeys are blended from many sources. We give stockists of honeys we tasted, but prices and style will vary.

Bell heather honey: tremendous kick, strong tang. Thick liquid. Dorset Heather Honey, Fortnum & Mason pounds 3.95/454g.

Ling heather honey (late flowering): Often reddish brown to amber, sweet, almost gelatinous. Harvey Nichols pounds 2.95/340g. Harrods English pounds 4.50/340g.

Clover: Britain, Canada, US. Usually thick, pale amber, mild. Honeyed, in fact. Harrods White Clover pounds 4.25/340g. Fauchon (from Selfridges and 40 stores nationwide) pounds 3.60/125g. Tel 0181 795 0278 for stockists.

Acacia: Hungary, Italy, France, Romania, Scotland. The aristocrat of honeys. Very thin, pale, sweet, laid-back piquancy, refined. Harvey Nichols (from Scotland) pounds 1.95/454g, Fauchon (theirs has a stronger flavour) pounds 3.60/125g.

Lime: France mainly. Pale green to rich golden. Complex flavours, nutty, slighly bitter, medical notes. Harrods pounds 1.90/340g.

Hymettus: Greece. Strong, treacly, rich, melting thick honey. Gives unique flavour to Greek Baklava. Greek Mountain Honey F&M pounds 3.45/454g.

Orange blossom: Mexico, Spain, California, Israel. Spicy citrus tang, gold, runny. F&M Mexican Orange Blossom pounds 2.95/454g.

Lavender: South of France. Creamy, thick, smooth, nutty, biting cough- sweet tang. Harrods pounds 2.50/340g. F&M pounds 6.50/454g. Fauchon pounds 3.90/125g.

Oilseed rape: Britain. Straw-coloured, thick and creamy, tends to crystallise. Bland, agreeable. Harrods Apple and Oilseed rape, pounds 4.95/340g.

Leatherwood: Tasmania. Very thick, rich, with spicy kick. F&M pounds 2.95/454g.

Sweet chestnut: France, Italy, Spain. Dark, pungent and strong, with a treacly grown-up taste. Fauchon pounds 3.60/125g.

Eucalyptus: Australian. There are 500 kinds of eucalyptus and honey from its blossom varies from medium to sweet, often with bitter tones, leathery smell. Harrods Australian Honey pounds 1.75/340g.

Note: John Home's Fosse Way Warwickshire country honey, and Derbyshire heather honey (see main story), are available in the Midlands for pounds 2 and pounds 3/454g. Tel 01926 612 322 for stockists. Fauchon's Opera House Honey, limited edition of 500, pounds 9.50/ 125g. Mail order 0181 795 0278.



Among other premium honeys worth looking out for are; Manuka: from New Zealand, from the perfumed flower of a tree. Rich, dark, creamy, and wonderful in cooking.

Jamaica: dark, rich tropical, good in puddings, cakes, sweet breads with bananas.

Sunflower: Turkey, Greece, Russia. Brilliantly clear and yellow. Fragrant.

Rosemary: pale, amber, herbal notes. Used in Spain to make turron (Spanish nougat, see recipe).

Thyme: from the Pelopponese islands. Rich and golden.