We’re big fans of Brightland around here. What’s not to love about the Instagram-favorite olive oils and vinegars, with their beautiful packaging, thoughtful processing and, of course, sublime taste? Now the California-based, direct-to-consumer brand is venturing into a completely new condiment category with the launch of two raw, unfiltered honeys sold as a set: Wildflower Kauai and Orange Blossom California, both of which “illustrate the incredible range of flavor that exists in nature.”
- The Couplet ($42; brightland.co)
In the literature we received with our honey, Brightland cites a 2011 report from Food Safety News that says most of the honey sold in the US has had its pollen filtered out. The brand notes that commercial pasteurization of honey can degrade both health benefits and the flavor of “authentic honey,” implying that its own honey, collected by small, women-led beekeeping families on the island of Kauai in Hawaii and in California, is superior to grocery store brands. (Is this true? Kind of, but as far as health value, it’s difficult to say.)
Grocery store brands often don’t have pollen, which gets removed in the filtering process to keep honey from crystallizing too quickly, which most consumers in the US prefer. The third- and fourth-generation family-run farms that Brightland works with, on the other hand, specifically work to maintain natural pollen grains and prioritize the health of hives and honeybee populations.
And healthier or not, the two honeys in The Couplet, as it’s called, have the same level of top-notch quality of taste as the brand’s olive oils, with bright, rich flavors that make them the perfect addition to a cup of tea, cheese plate or a nice piece of buttered toast, and even for baking. The honey is packaged in 9-ounce jars you’ll want to display; they feature pink wildflowers and orange blossoms, and just like the olive oil bottles, the look is very chic and welcoming.
We can’t wait to try whatever is next from this innovative brand, but until then, we’ll be dipping everything we can into Orange Blossom and Wildflower honeys, which will certainly cover all your sweet drizzling, dipping bases. Shop the duo now at brightland.co for $42 (certainly an investment, but a worthwhile one), and read on for our thoughts on each flavor.
The Wildflower Kauai Honey has a slightly peachier hue than a typical grocery store honey, and the taste is light and floral, which makes sense as the honey is made in Hawaii from hibiscus, papaya trees, passion flowers and guava flowers, as well as eucalyptus and coffee tree.
The floral notes are not overpowering, but definitely noticeable — not as strong as an infused honey, but sweet without being cloying. Brightland recommends pairing the Kauai with a soft cheese, and I’m looking forward to trying it with a creamy brie style cheese, or drizzled on toast, yogurt or even pancakes.
The Orange Blossom California Honey, which has a bronzy, amber hue, boasts a very different flavor makeup from the Kauai. This single-origin honey from orange groves in California’s Central Valley is richer and has more depth and zest.
When drizzled over a good, mild cheddar, the Orange Blossom complemented the salty bite nicely. It would also go well with a fresh apple or pear, in a cup of hot tea or mixed with Brightland’s Awake Olive Oil and one of its fruit-forward vinegars for a bright salad dressing.