Thursday, April 11, 2019

Catskill Provisions & Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette


I recently caught up with an old friend who told me about her work with Catskill Provisions, an artisanal food and craft spirits company based in the Catskills of New York, specializing in small-batch products featuring local honey.

Homemade honey-apple cider vinaigrette with Catskill Provisions honey and apple cider

Its proprietor Claire Marin started the company after dabbling in beekeeping as a hobby. She was inspired by her experience, and decided to grow her love of beekeeping into a business centered around raw, small batch, hand-packed honey used in a variety of artisanal products such as apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ketchup, chocolate truffles, pancake mix, and an award-winning honey rye whisky.


An ardent honey-lover from way back, I was very excited to get my hands on some of these products! Even though I live in New England, and not the Catskills, it still manages to feel like a very local experience, knowing that these small batch products have never seen the inside of a factory.


I tried out the raw wildflower spring honey (they also sell a fall honey), the raw wildflower creamed honey, and the aged NY state apple cider vinegar. The quality of these products is fantastic. Both of the honeys are nice and floral, the creamed honey with a spreadable consistency and the traditional honey with a deep amber hue. The vinegar has great flavor and doesn't taste overly acidic.


I sampled the creamed honey spread over Italian toast, and enjoyed every bite! I'm a fan of peanut butter and honey sandwiches (move aside, jelly!), and think the spreadable texture of this honey would be a great compliment to a peanut butter sandwich, with less chance of sticky drips!


I also sampled the spring honey and apple cider vinegar on their own, and decided to combine them into a light, slightly sweet vinaigrette to dress salad greens. I adapted my go-to vinaigrette recipe, which I typically make with pomegranate molasses to use this wildflower honey instead, yielding a sweeter result that is nicely offset by slightly bitter salad greens and an assertive blue cheese. Please note that a traditional vinaigrette uses a LOT more oil than I do for mine. I prefer a lighter, more acidic dressing, but you can amp up the oil if you desire.


This Champs Elysées greens mix at Trader Joe's jumped out at me immediately since I'm planning an upcoming trip to Paris, and was in a very French mood.


I paired it with the best blue cheese in the world, my personal favorite and a French staple, Roquefort. Its pungency helps offset some of the sweetness of the dressing. Candied pecans add crunch and nuttiness. All together, this salad is refreshing and well balanced. I even served my salad in 80-year-old antique plates from France (thanks, ancestors)!


I really enjoyed sampling products from Catskill Provisions, a female owned and operated company with honey at its core! You can purchase these items at specialty retailers and online.


Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Makes about 3/4 cup

2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a medium mixing bowl on top of a damp paper towel. This will keep the bowl from spinning when you whisk. Whisk together the garlic, honey, and vinegar in the bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil while constantly whisking, occasionally pausing the oil and continuing to whisk to ensure the oil properly emulsifies with the vinegar mixture (if you prefer a less acidic vinaigrette, you can add more oil--the standard is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid, but to me that's a bit much). Season with salt and pepper.

*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than free jars of honey and vinegar. My opinions are always my own.

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