Mar 13, 2017

Top NZ Chef teaches using honey as a sugar substitute


Top New Zealand chef, Jimmy Boswell, hosted five masterclass sessions at the “Sunshine & A Plate” event. Demonstrating how to use Melora Manuka or Floral Blend honey as a sugar substitute in many of his recipes, Boswell showed the 80+ registered attendees a simple way to reduce refined sugars and add flavour complexity to his Italian-style dishes.

Chef Jimmy Boswell held a series of masterclasses over the course this hugely popular event covering a range of themes including “Love Food, Hate Waste”, a general masterclass with an Italian focus, a diabetic masterclass and a schools event based around the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution.

“People come to these masterclasses to learn and get new ideas,” says Boswell, who is also a credited cookbook author, TV presenter and food stylist. “They love the food and they see how I am using honey to add a sweet layer to the dish for its balance and taste”

“I’ve been using honey as a sugar substitute for years. I have dozens and dozens of recipes where I specifically identify honey to be used,” explains Boswell.

“Certain dishes like those with a lot of tomato or basil can stand up to the strength of the Manuka honey.  Whereas for lighter dishes, like a seafood dish I demonstrated which had mussels and cockles in their shells, I use the floral blend which is lighter and will complement the flavours of the dish.”

“Sunshine & A Plate” is an annual foodie festival established and run by Hospice Whakatane to “celebrate summer’s bounty and the region’s local delicacies”.  Featuring cooking lessons, demonstrations, dining experiences and competitions, all funds raised went directly to Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty’s care of the community.

Boswell recommends swapping honey for sugar spoon-for-spoon in sauces and some savoury dishes to provide balance or enhance the flavour of the dish, “One of my sauces which people love is a Sicilian tomato-based sauce which you can use for ragus, bolognaises, pizzas and more. Quite often Italian’s use sugar just to provide a little bit of sweetness but I prefer to use honey.”

Showcasing our region with Sunshine & a Plate


In February this year New Zealand Mānuka Group was, once again, given the opportunity to support ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ – an annual food festival held in Whakatane which also raises funds and awareness for Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty. 

This is the second year of what is fast becoming an iconic event for the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and the second year New Zealand Mānuka Group has been involved.  In 2016, 250g jars of Melora Mānuka Honey were donated to be included in the ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ gift boxes as well as providing tours of our Awakeri processing facility.

“The feedback to our special food tour in 2016 was very positive, and was suggested that we should include this on alternate years,” explains Rosemary Sloman, festival organiser and Community Relationship Development, Hospice EBOP.  “This year we asked for New Zealand Mānuka Group’s involvement in an educational capacity through a showcase video presenting all aspects of their operation as a prelude to our Masterclass Chef series and the opening night with our partner sponsors.”

Immediately after the presentation New Zealand Mānuka Group ran a business card draw for all sponsor representatives.  Sharon Seales from the Whakatane Liberty Centre was the lucky winner of a $250 gift hamper including UMF 5+ Mānuka honey Mānuka blend honey, lemon lozenge pouch, orange flavoured lozenge 12pk box, Mānuka with almond oil, Mānuka Secrets hand crème, Mānuka Secrets lip lustre.

The ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ food festival included 31 separate events over 10 days, from the opening sponsors evening on February 17th through to a very special parakuihi (breakfast) on the closing day, February 26th.

Rosemary explains further, “Sunshine week has been developed to showcase and champion all that is grown, gathered and produced in our region; to encourage national and international visitors into the area; to provide a sustainable funding stream to ensure our Hospice services can be accessed across the Eastern Bay of Plenty; and to grow pride in the diversity of our region.”

This year, the fesitval attracted visitors from all over New Zealand as well as international visitors from Hawaii, UK and Canada.

Images below: (Top) Ingrid McNiven from NZ Mānuka Group giving the company presentation (Bottom) Ingrid McNiven and business card draw winner Sharan Seales