Event: Barnyard Collective presented “Raw Honey” talk and cheese pairing tasting.
The Bottomline: A fantastic evening learning about the different varieties of honey, pairing it with delicious cheese and enjoying a glass of sparkling wine. This is one of the many delicious events happening deep in Long Island City, Queens.
Review: What would’ve seemed quick cab ride turned a bit dodgy as we headed to the warehouses south of LIRR Sunnyside tracks. Eyeing the rubble of the crumbling buildings as we played slalom through the cratered road, our cabbie asked if we were sure this was the place. I just nodded, as we jumped out. It may have looked like a ghost town from the street, but inside Larkin Cold Storage, it was a far different story as we were greeted and ushered into a beautifully built interrior.
Rows of wooden tables and cedar-like paneled walls gave the place a cheerful and cozy feeling. We eyed the paintings of the wall as set of turntables played easy listening electronica. The main event of course were the cheeses arranged on the slabs and the little cups of honey that decorated the tables. As I looked over the bottles of sparkling wine chilling in the ice bucket, I knew this was going to be a treat.
If you’ve never heard of the Barnyard Collective, you’re not alone. It’s a cheese-lover collective made by people who know their stuff and frequently host tasting events for both fellow cheese-mongers and out-borough kindred spirits alike.
Our honey expert Zeke from Bee Raw guided us through the basics of honey like only honey bees produce the stuff – which I admit I didn’t know. And the different varieties of light amber, orange blossom, creamy and the dark buckwheat depend on kinds of flowers and fruits the bees feast on. And while raw honey comes in a variety of flavors depending on the bees’ regimen, it also has healthy properties as well as many uses.
Furthermore, Zeke explained that a lot of the US grade A honey like those bloody bears at supermarkets come from China, India and Argentina where the honey is continually processed until it looks like light amber. Damn right evil if you ask me. Not suprisingly, it’s usually cheaper than the domestic, eco-friendly varieties. Personally, after tasting the honey from Bee Raw, I’d take that any day.
The cheeses ranged from: blue, sheep, cow, chèvre and beautifully placed on each slab. Each one was paired with a different honey. But how do you match the two, you may ask?
According to Zeke, the honey and cheese should work inversely, meaning the lighter the honey, the stronger the cheese, and likewise, the milder the cheese, the darker the honey. It actually worked really well. And the wine acted as the perfect palette cleanser.
Personally, I’d like to have heard a bit more about the cheeses and where they came from, but it was delicious in any case. As the event drew to a close, we left the collective and headed to the nearest subway station with sticky fingers, happy memories and the lingering aroma of cheese.