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I've heard Jeffrey Steingarten, on Iron Chef America, mention that he finds honey quite bitter. I've never noticed that myself. Maybe if I really try I can notice a slight bitter finish, but for me the sweetness and floral aroma dominates. Is honey actually bitter in some quantifiable sense? Are some particular varieties of honey better known for this characteristic?

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4 Answers

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It depends on what the bees had for lunch :) . Acacia honey is extremely sweet, with no bitter aftertaste. Chestnut honey (easy to find in Italy, don't know about elsewhere) is dark and has a strong bitter note. I personally love how the bittersweet goes with butter and bread, but some people hate it. Generic polyflower honey usually does not have a bitter note.

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Honey from chestnut flowers is very bitter.

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I find honey's bitterness is in the aftertaste. I also find it--except in very cheap grades of honey--extremely pleasant. And useful when building flavour profiles in a dish.

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I also notice it myself, and it varies depending on the flowers and region. I read that there is a bitter honey from Sardinia, Miele Amaro.

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