Honey, I Hardly Know Ya! (But I Will)

You can travel to China, Thailand, Madagascar and Brazil to taste rare, international honeys.

Or you can do taste, discuss and analyze that honey during the Sensory Evaluation of Honey Course, hosted Nov. 7-9 by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center in the Robert Mondavi Institute (RMI) on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus.

The three-day certificate course covers "everything in the world of honey," says director Amina Harris. It takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the RMI Sensory Building. Yes, there's still time to register; a few openings remain.

"Attendees will taste, discuss and analyze approximately 40 varieties of honey from across the globe to hearing the latest in bee sting allergy research," according to the center's press release. "The focus is on tasting honey using both the well-known Italian method taught at the Registry of Experts in Bologna alongside our own UC Davis research tasting protocols and techniques."

Course instructors include:

  • Orietta Gianjorio, professional taster of honey certified by the Italian Register of Experts (she also professionally tastes wine, olive oil, chocolate and other commodities)
  • Suzanne Teuber, M.D., a UC Davis professor in the Department of Medicine, who focuses on allergies
  • Amy Myrdal Miller, a national consulting nutritionist
  • Joyce Schlachter, a quality control specialist at Crockett Honey with a direct interest in adulteration
  • Mani Niall, a professional chef,, occasional beekeeper and author of “Covered in Honey" and
  • Hildegarde Heymann, a world-renowned professor of sensory science, who will explain exactly how our sensory apparatus works.

The introductory course uses sensory evaluation tools and methods to educate participants in the nuances of varietal honey, Harris said. Students will learn about methods of evaluation, stands and quality in this certificate program. It's geared for anyone interested in learning how to critically taste and assess honey. Using standard sensory techniques, packers, chefs, beekeepers, writers, food manufacturers, honey aficionados will learn about the nuances of varietal honey.

Attendees will receive a UC Davis Honey Flavor Wheel and the Center's newly published Honey Journal, in addition to access to all presentations.

Another highlight: members of the UC Davis research team will share results from their honey analysis research. The  research includes work in the field of gas chromatography, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), pollen and the development of a full sensory panel.

Like to register? The fee for the three-day certificate course is $799. For more information, access Sensory Evaluation of Honey or contact Amina Harris at aharris@ucdavis.edu.