Hey guys, remember when I got that fun goodie bag of stuff for being a member of the Around the Plate community?

Well, I finally got around to trying another treat from the goodie bag!  In case you missed my first post, you can click here to read about nimble™ by Balance Bar!

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Cremes

Honey Ridge Farms, located in Brush Prairie, WA, was founded in 2004.  The company provides high-quality, all natural specialty gourmet honeys and honey-based specialty foods.  The Honey Ridge Farm family believes that honey is nature’s best and most delicious sweetener and offers a variety of single-floral source artisan honeys from the western US as well as other all natural honey-based gourmet foods including fruit and spiced honey cremes, honey-based vinegars, grilling sauces, and honey glazes. 

Sounds pretty shweet!

Literally. 🙂

The two flavors that Around the Plate kindly sent to me to sample were blackberry honey crème and lemon honey crème.  Upon first opening the goodie box, I was more excited for blackberry (I looooove anything blackberry flavored!) than the lemon, but they both ended up being tasty.

At first I tried to use the blackberry spread in lieu of jam on a piece of whole wheat toast.

Meh.  I don’t recommend it.  The combination of the two didn’t really do anything for me?

Then I turned the little jar around and got some new ideas for how I could enjoy the crème:

CHEESE!  I was craving some cheese and crackers as a post-Target trip snack this weekend, so I decided to give that last bullet suggestion a whirl.

WAY better than the toast/jam combo.  I didn’t even need to spread as big of a glob on there either.  Just a dab will do to give the cheese and cracker combo the teeniest hint of sweetness.  I liked both flavors, but the lemon with the sharp cheddar cheese actually really surprised me.  Thanks for the cheese, Slesh!

I also tried them out in my tea this morning, another good use for them.

Sidenote on using these as a sugar substitute.  I’m not huge into the natural sweetener debate.  However, I did read an article on the biggest health food scams of 2011 and honey (along with other natural sweeteners) is on there.  A little snippet:

“It was sweet to be a “natural” sugar this year. Natural sweeteners now rank second on the list of most-looked-for items on the ingredient label, after the type of fat/oil. But “to the body, sugar is sugar, whether it’s in the form of honey, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, or whatever,” says Robert Davis, PhD, author of Coffee Is Good for You: From Vitamin C and Organic Foods to Low-Carb and Detox Diets, the Truth about Diet and Nutrition Claims. Though these alternatives may sound healthier than regular sugar, there’s scant evidence that our gut processes them any differently.”

My advice, as always, is to enjoy in moderation!

Anyways, so the question now is, would I buy these on my own?  I’m not sure yet.  I try to be frugal when it comes to my grocery shopping and I think these qualify more as a little “splurge” item than something I would keep in the house all the time.  But I might try one of the other ideas on the company’s recipe usage link.  Maybe that will change my mind.  So stay tuned!

Thank you to both Around the Plate and to Honey Ridge Farms for giving me the opportunity to try these products!

Disclaimer/Disclosure:  I did not receive any financial contributions for this review; however, I did receive free products from the company so that I could test them out and then tell you my thoughts. All thoughts presented in this blog post are my own. 

Do you guys use honey or any natural sweeteners?  Thoughts on the big sweetener debate?