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.”