My mission with Balqees from the beginning was to find the best honeys in the world. Raw and unadulterated they are often located in remote areas of the planet. In 2016 I had the pleasure in visiting High Peak estate on the South Island of New Zealand. I met with beekeeper Tom Dunbar along with the Guild family who showed me their 10,000 acres. There, growing in the most clean and beautiful landscape are manuka bushes and beech trees providing bees their fodder to produce the most amazing honey. The relationship was forged and Balqees have been sourcing from High Peak ever since.
It was a pleasure to return this year and reconnect with this very special place on earth. All the more so since reading the latest from Slow Food Europe and the plight of bees under threat from neonicotinoids. With bees in danger its refreshing to go somewhere free of pollutants even if it means travelling halfway around the world.
Ive written a lot about manuka and there is more to discuss but first what do we know about honeydew?
What is honeydew?
Well in this instance i’m not referring to a type of melon. Its a unique high country honey and is also known as forest honey as it comes from the native black beech tree (nothafagus solandri) as found in the alpine region of High Peak.
Honey from a tree and not from a flower?
Bees just love the honeydew which starts with aphids that feed on the sap from the bark and secrete the sugary dewy like substance over the tree. Its amazing to see and smell. It literally drips from the trees and you can hold your finger out and catch it. The bees collect the sweet dew and take it back to the hive and combine this goodness with enzymes to produce this amazing natural product.
Where does the name come from?
It comes from the substance on the bark that when it shines in sunlight gives off a glow. Hence the name – honeydew.
What does it taste like?
Its bold in flavour and smooth in texture with a beautiful amber colour to it. You can taste the earthiness of the wood and trees. Its sweet and luscious and goes really well with cheeses, Greek yoghurt and on salads.
Is it good for us ?
Tests are showing this organic natural yield to be extremely good for us. Its high in antioxidants and minerals. Really good for gut health showing to have more antibacterial benefits than floral honeys.
High Peak is remote, pristine and a great example of what New Zealand prides its self on, bio-diversity and high standards of practice and disease prevention.
For more on High Peak, high country honeys and food from New Zealand check out the podcast.