Tasmanians excel in honey. I am so enamoured with honey from this state that I now find myself looking for Tasmanian honey when staying on the mainland. The eponymous Leatherwood honey is one I have been enjoying for years but since living in Tasmania more honey varieties are appearing. The Leatherwood tree is Tasmanian and it is a product that should be registered on the Slow Food Ark. A register that includes indigenous or produced items that are particular to one region or country.
The only other honey I find with a strong and distinctive flavour is a special honey in Italy created with the assistance of bees that hang around chestnut trees. I have also have eaten the delicate lavender honey of France and used it for adding flavour to vanilla ice cream, but it is an acquired taste for many and you cannot go overboard using it this way otherwise it has a medicinal taste. But for every day use Tasmanian honey cannot be beaten.
I have just finished a pot of Manuka honey from Tasmania. For some time I was under the illusion that Manuka honey was unique to New Zealand and was paying a lot of money for it. However it is still up there in the dollars department in Tasmania. It is an expensive honey and maybe that is because of the small quantity of Manuka trees in North East Tasmania. Supposedly Manuka honey is reputed to be a cure for cuts and abrasions with anti bacterial qualities. I have yet to put it to that test. I polished off my last jar of Manuka by having a teaspoon on my porridge every morning rather than sugar.
When we started spending more time in France we became aware that the French prize honey highly. There is even an apiary in Luxembourg Parc, right in the middle of Paris! I had to steer John away from it though as he is allergic to bee stings, not to honey thankfully. So it came as no surprise when another brand I came across recently in Tasmania is called Miellerie and since the label looks similiar to many I have seen in Paris, I studied the jar to find that this honey is produced by Yves Ginat, a Frenchman now living in Tasmania. Yves says on his website that he was taught to keep bees when a boy in France. I will be eating more of this honey as it is unprocessed and unheated. Each of the honeys in the Miellerie range are crystallised, with a smooth, velvety texture.
When we were in Portugal we visited a famous university library where bats were allowed to live to keep the insects away from the valuable books and in Paris there is honey made from bees that live in the original old Paris Opera building. The bees gather nectar from blooms in window boxes and city parks so this proves you don’t even need to keep bees in the country to produce honey.
I used to bring back honey from Paris but when you have a state that considers it one of the national food products and even sells it at its airport gift shops, now I can have my honey and eat it too in and away from Tasmania. Roz