High Country: In Kitchen Toke’s new hemp honey, the bees do the infusing
Originally set to showcase at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Joline Rivera’s CBD superfood makes its debut.
If 2020 wasn’t 2020, culinary cannabis expert Joline Rivera would be readying for her launch at the buzziest venue of all — under the Grand Tasting Pavilion at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
But thanks to coronavirus causing the most anticipated event of the summer (or year, even) to cancel, Kitchen Toke Hemp Honey is instead making its debut here in High Country, where we’ve had the honor of sharing a recipe each season from the pages of her quarterly magazine.
Not having the prestigious platform to introduce a new food product — especially under what was to be an expanded track of CBD- focused programming — as planned is “still very sad” for the Kitchen Toke founder, but Rivera remains hopeful.
“Food & Wine is always important, but it’s so much bigger to me as a cannabis brand — the idea that we would get the nod, or the approval — having that alignment as a cannabis company that’s creating a food product of the quality they expect and being accepted into that environment is a big deal,” Rivera shared with me during a recent phone interview. “It really speaks to cannabis going mainstream.”
Rivera is confident that the momentum the cannabis category was gaining at the festival will pick up where it left off next summer and added, “(Coronavirus) is not going to be forever. It of course makes it challenging to launch a food product, but we had every intention of launching direct to consumer anyway.”
Kitchen Toke Hemp Honey, now available online ($80, kitchentokehoney.com), was forged from a partnership with Avner Ben Aharon and Ilan Ben Simon, the creators of Bee Fuse Technology and its resulting patented hemp and nectar blend. Sustainably produced at their farm three hours north of Los Angeles, resident honeybees are naturally attracted to the mixture, eating it as they would from any flowering plant.
Once the bees complete their work — a process which includes capping the honey with a beeswax- like substance for storage — the hemp honey is harvested and jarred. This ruby-tinged food melds with the honeybee’s belly enzymes, combining the nutritional and healing benefits of both honey and hemp.
“It’s nature at its best — mixed by bees, not humans,” Rivera explained. “Honey promotes neural health and helps wound healing. Plus, it’s antiviral and antibacterial. So then you marry that with what we absolutely know about CBD — relief from pain, inflammation, and stress — this honey could rival Manuka from a health food perspective.”
In place of Rivera and her team presenting this weekend, here are three Kitchen Toke Hemp Honey recipes to try at home. And cheers to the Food & Wine Classic in 2021, which’ll surely make gathering again next summer in person that much sweeter.
Brown Sugar and Honey Pita Chips with Almonds
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Kitchen Toke Hemp Honey
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 12 rounds pita bread, about 6- to 7-inches each
- ½ cup toasted almond slices, coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt, if desired
- Combine oil, honey, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom and brush the mixture over one side of each pita round. Slice each pita into 6 wedges and arrange on sheet trays. Sprinkle lightly with almonds and salt, and bake at 400 F for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Monitor carefully to avoid burning the chips.
- Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Honey Rosemary Pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- ⅓ teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
- 2 cups pecan halves
- ¼ cup Kitchen Toke Hemp Honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
- Melt butter with salt and pepper. Place pecans in bowl; add butter, honey and rosemary. Mix to coat evenly. Spread on baking sheet lined with parchment paper; bake at 325 F in preheated oven until toasted, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Thyme and Lime Honey Cocktail
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce elderflower liqueur, such as St-Germain
- 1 ounce Kitchen Toke Hemp honey simple syrup (recipe follows)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Ice, as needed
- Club soda, as needed
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, to garnish
- Lime slices, as needed
- Combine gin, St-Germain, simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker filled with ice; shake well. Pour into a tall glass with ice and top with club soda. Roll thyme sprigs between your hands a few times to release the oils and garnish with lime slices. Makes 1 drink with enough honey simple syrup for about 7 more.
- To make honey simple syrup: Simmer ½ cup water, remove from heat and add 10 sprigs fresh thyme and 2 long strips lime peel removed with a vegetable peeler. Stir in ½ cup honey until dissolved. Steep until cool; strain.
Yield: Makes 1 cocktail.
Challenge Aspen presented its annual Denim & Diamonds benefit, held this summer at T-Lazy-7 Ranch on July 23.
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