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Bear or beehive? Honey choices used to be limited to the shape of the container. No longer: Honey has gone artisan. At farmers markets and specialty grocers, the buzz is all about small-batch honey varietals made by bees that gather nectar from single plant sources in a specific region. The result is an array of honeys with distinguishable characteristics that pair well with regional cheeses, fruits and nuts. “It’s become just like wine,” says Claire Tauzer, general manager of Sola Bee Farms in Woodland, family operated since 1861. “People want to know where the bees are working and why the honey is different.
WILD BLACKBERRY [pictured]—From Sola Bee’s bees that hang out in the brambles in Bloomfield, Calif., it’s got a pure, fruity flavor that tastes “infused” but isn’t. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, 1900 Alhambra Blvd.
SACRAMENTO WILDFLOWER—From a beekeeper whose primary occupation is providing pollination services to Lodi-area orchards, this honey is slightly citrusy with woody tones. Available at Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies, 2110 X St.
WINE COUNTRY WILDFLOWER—This Sola Bee Farms varietal is extra sweet and thick with a flavor that ranges from season to season depending on what’s in bloom on Sonoma County hillsides. Available at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.