The Rhododendron honey presents one of the more complex profiles of the many honeys crafted by Andrea Bianco. It carries a hint of the bitterness one finds in the Chestnut honey but that is leavened by the delicate sweetness that mimics the finesse of the Acacia; yet, there is an additional density on the palate and, of course, the tantalizing brilliance of its near-Siena color.
We like to use this honey as a centerpiece rather than an element in complex dishes. So, for example, it delights as a solo accompaniment to a young Fontina cheese. Its sensual viscosity allows it to surround the cheese as a wrap with the resultant silky mouthfeel and subtle sweetness preceding and complimenting the bright acidity of the young cheese and the soft but still chewy texture of the cheese.
Thus, the Rhododendron stimulates multiple senses: smell, taste, texture. We like it also to drizzle over the lentils produced by Giampiero Bea. As the lentils reach the proper degree of doneness, add the Rhododendron honey to the pan over a very low heat, stir and let the flavors blend. The earthiness of the lentils marry beautifully with the subtle bitterness and the breath of Alpine mint carried by the Rhododendron honey.