By Bonnie S. Benwick

The Washington Post

“The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by 28 Varietals and Blends” is a slim, single-subject volume that is just as compelling as any deep-dive cookbook. You will get to know those 28 varietals, some of which might seem precious, as they are not found on grocery store shelves. Pure, good honey comes at a price, and it is an unfortunate fact of life that golden syrups labeled as honey have diluted the market and made us gasp at the product’s proper cost.

You will become aware of the “Bee Charmer” varietals’ affinities with certain foods and cuisines. You will wonder whether obtaining a jar of Tasmanian leatherwood honey, which pairs with lentils, beer and smoked cheeses, could be worth the bother. Having sampled it and several others featured in the book, I say: You bet it is.

And you will learn the story behind the book, named for the North Carolina shop whose owners are committed to selling local, seasonal honeys. Jillian Kelly and Kim Allen run a nice-looking business and keep bees themselves.

They were also lucky enough to get Carrie Schloss on board; she and Allen have been friends since their college days. The Chicago-­area chef and culinary consultant kept ease of use in mind here, evident in the recipe indexes by varietal and by dietary restriction. A surprising number of the creations are savory and a fair number skew healthful.

Finally, if you have exorcised refined sugar from your life or are wishing to loosen its grip, cook from this book and you will be among the happiest readers of all.

20522080