The Kiwis Got Soul
Soul honeys. Rich in all things wholesome and true like healthy fats and antioxidants, these little suckers are as virtuous as they sound. Not that Nick and I were in a virtuous state when we stumbled upon them. Not by a long shot. No, in the four days leading up to our serendipitous discovery of Soul Honeys, our food morals had been gleefully cast aside. Then trampled on. Then ground deep into the pavement of Queenstown.
Indeed, our pre-Soul Honey days had been spent in Queenstown, New Zealand, where we had begun our two-week adventure by eating with reckless abandon. Diving head first into the sea of New Zealand’s culinary scene, our desire to eat our way through New Zealand had quickly gotten out of control. We hunted down local cheeses and frequented Queenstown’s finest, Fergberger at every chance we got. New Zealand’s milk was rich, velvety, and had become my own personal obsession. I had taken to calling it “Kiwi milk”, undeterred by the fact that it was sourced from neither Kiwi fruit, bird, or citizen. The delicate flower that is my digestive system, more accustomed to a daily regimen of kale and quinoa than lamb burgers and pork belly, was pitching a fit.
So it was with considerable bloat, and focus to stay on the proper side of the road, that we departed Queenstown and began our first of many Kiwi road trips. On the recommendation of our Kiwi-American friend, we stopped in the small lakeside city of Wanaka (pronounced Wan-ACK-a, not like Hannukah with a “w”.)
And it was in Wanaka that I spotted Soulfood. A small, unassuming storefront, it was a beacon of light in the darkness that was our overconsumption - promising to give our stomachs a moment of repose from our sinful gluttony.
Walking into Soulfood was like walking into a California co-op, quickly reminding me of the food morals I had so callously discarded over the last few days. Organic vegetables beckoned from their strategically unassuming crates. Chalkboards casually listed the ingredients of fresh squeezed juices. The aisles were lined with gluten-free this, allergen-free that, and nut butters from nuts and seeds of which I had never heard. I was home.
And then I saw them, sitting in a glass display case, radiating goodness. Calling my name. I had to have one. That and a green juice, because good god I needed some vegetables.
These little suckers not only tasted delicious, but I felt good eating them. Since the foundation of Soul Honeys is tahini (sesame seed butter) and honey, they have a rich and creamy element, making it so you don’t feel like you’re eating “health” food. Thanks to the blend of coconut, nuts and dried fruit mixed in to the tahini and honey, there is also a satisfying crunch to each bite. All in all, even just one Soul Honey was like hitting a reset button, but without having to drink lemon juice and cayenne pepper for 8 days straight.
And so it was with happy souls and thankful stomachs that we left Soulfood and it’s delightful Soul Honeys. Ready to face the rest of the day, our drive, and the next lamb burger.
Soul Honeys Recipe
Yield: 40 balls (the size of 2 Tablespoons each)
This recipe was shared with me by Andy, one of the good and generous folks at Soulfood in Wanaka, New Zealand. Being a very natural, waste-nothing kind of establishment, the recipe is often adapted to whatever ingredients they have on hand. This means if one day they don't have tahini, they'll use almond butter or peanut butter. Use the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit of your choice. This is a very forgiving and flexible recipe. Have fun with it!
1. Toast the 2 cups coconut*. This is what you will roll the Soul Honeys in when they are formed. To toast, use a skillet on the stovetop with medium high heat, spreading the coconut in a thin layer. Stir the coconut frequently but not constantly until golden brown. Remove from the heat and pour into a medium sized bowl to cool.
2. In a food processor, process the 2 cups of nuts or seeds until it's a coarse flour (picture 1). Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine your tahini (or nut butter of choice) and honey.
4. Throw the rest of the ingredients into the bowl - the coarse nut flour, desiccated coconut, coriander and dried fruit. Mix well, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
5. Mold into balls. You can make them as large or small as you want - I made mine using 2 Tablespoons for each.
7. Roll in the toasted coconut*. Enjoy immediately, or put them in an airtight container and refrigerate. They will be soft when you first make them, so be gentle when packing them up. With that said, I find that these little guys are more flavorful at room temperature. Pack them with you to work/school and they'll be a perfect snack!
*If you're not a fan of coconut, sesame seeds are another option that the folks at Soulfood use.