The Honeybees of Dollarhide Ranch

In addition to growing some of the finest wine grapes in the Napa Valley, our 475 acre Dollarhide Ranch vineyard is also home to over 300,000 honeybees. The five hives each produce approximately 50 pounds of honey from two harvests per year. The life span of your typical honeybee is a mere 28 days, with the queen living about 2 years. Itís good to be the queen!

Our vineyard / honeybee manager, Josh Anstey, tells me that he always leaves some honey for the bees when the honey is harvested. Harvest is accomplished by cutting off the tops of the honeycombs and spinning the honey out with the aid of a centrifuge.

Dollarhide Wildflower Honey Chocolate Truffles

1 1/2 cups cream
1/4 cup Dollarhide Wildflower honey
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brandy or rum
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup each cocoa powder, shredded unsweetened coconut, chopped hazelnuts (or pistachio nuts)

Place the cream and honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Stir in the brandy and vanilla and allow to cool for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Use a small scoop and your hands to form 1 inch diameter balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. They will actually more like real truffles if they are not perfectly round. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, and then roll some of the truffles in the cocoa powder, some in the nuts and some in the shredded coconut. The truffles will keep for a couple of weeks if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Yields approximately 36 truffles