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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

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Obsessed? Who, me?
I've spent the past three months trying as many different London-produced honeys as I can, as well as a few from farther afield (California and Idaho). Because we're between production seasons, I wasn't able to get my hands on every London honey on which I've been able to gather data, but I've so far been able to try these:

Regents Park

London Honey Company

Tate Britain

Regents Park claims to make the finest honey in London, and, so far, I agree with them: it's light, floral, and very sweet, but with an almost minty finish if you really pay attention, amazingly well suited to all-purpose use. LHC's honey with the comb still in has a sweet, sharp citrus flavor that puts me in mind of marmalade (although the beekeeper says it reminds him specifically of grapefruit). Tate Britain's honey (they keep hives up on the roof, as does the Tate Modern) threw me for a loop; it definitely has the most peculiar flavor of the three, and I'm not sure if I like it. It's very dark, brownish amber, and strangely complex: I catch butterscotch, toffee, and a fruity note that I finally realized reminded me of fermented grapes, something like botrytis white dessert wine. I keep getting conflicting messages as to whether Tate Modern's honey is still in stock or not, so I've got to keep digging. I've managed to get myself on the waiting list for this year's crop of Fortnum & Mason.

I've tried one honey from outside of London, Sanfoin Gold. It's an absolute treasure; I like it just as well as I like Regents Park, but for slightly different purposes. It's perfect in Kenilworth Ceylon tea, and it's also great in corn porridge (or just eaten straight up).

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A coworker of mine is a beekeeper, and he gave me a jar of his home-processed honey for the holidays.


Tate Britain's sounds like a honey I would adore.

I'm never buying commercial honey from the supermarket EVER AGAIN.

Aww, man! WHY didn't I do any honey research when I was in England?!


You'll just have to do it when you return ;)

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You should look into NYC beekeepers; I've heard there's been some very good honey produced in your particular urban environment, too! And let me know how it is if you try any.

You know, I sadly don't like honey (honey is one of those thing I really wish I'd like), but I love that there are hives on the roof of the Tate Britain.

I love that there are hives on the roof of the Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, Fortnum & Mason, and on many other rooftops and gardens in the city as well. Bees make me nervous, as I react badly to stings, but aside from that I'm very fond of them and even fonder of honey.

One of my colleagues, the awesome Laila, keeps bees and has a small honey production that they sell. They don't pasteurize their honey as to preserve the anti bacterial properties, which is something that you can't buy in supermarkets here. I wish I knew enough about honey to describe it properly, I don't even know what flowers it's made from. But I prefer it to the ones in the supermarkets, at least!

Btw, did you see that I managed to miraculously find that Danish short movie The Boy Who Walked Backwards online, with English subs? We talked about it in connection with fics about death, and leaving people behind, I think! There's a download link on my LJ a couple of posts down :)

All of the London honeys I've tried are unpasteurized, too, and it does, without a doubt, preserve the flavor!

No, I hadn't noticed, but I'll definitely DL it tomorrow :)

Easy access here, so you don't have to scroll through all the clutter on my LJ :)

hooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Thanks. Now I want some.

When you're here, I can show you exactly where to buy Regents Park Honey. There are plenty of jars still kicking about the city, and I know exactly where they are.

Urban Vs. Country Honey

So, is it true that inner city bees make better honey than their country cousins? I hear that bees who frequent urban flowers and trees, which are rarely sprayed with fertilizer, make the best-tasting honey.

So far, in my estimation? Yes, that theory has some weight :)

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I'm getting more and more broke by the day thanks to the fact that I've been out of work since the end of November and have only been able to begin looking for work again this week. However, if enough Regents Park honey is left kicking around the city by the time I can afford to buy you some, I will send it. Because it's just amazing.

There are some amazing local honeys in Canberra - mostly eucalyptus varieties, which have this really robust, herb and menthol sort of flavour to them. Perfect on toast with lots of butter, lovely in baking, but too strong for any but the most forward of teas (my favourite is a smoky local blend incorporating eucalyptus leaves, but it's good in Assam too).

If I can still get red river gum honey at the markets next time I'm there, I'll send you some (I'd suggest a honey swap, but unfortunately Australian quarantine would have a fit).

I had some Australian Red Gum honey recently (via Crabtree & Evelyn), and I actually found I didn't care much for the taste. How similar are the various gum honeys, in your experience?

They can completely different from one another, although most of the varieties available here (at least that I've found so far) are at the dark and heady end of the spectrum. Red gum is tricky - it tends to be dark and complex, and practically savoury, but red gum and yellow box are the most common eucalypt varieties in the country, so most honeys of those varieties are so-so blends. Leatherwood is in the same vein, but with more citrus going on, and tannins underlying the flavour (it's a Tasmanian speciality, and thanks to my favourite chocolaterie I can report that it goes very well with dark chocolate). Blue gum is quite caramelly in flavour, generally, and grey box (which I've only had once, to my continuing disappointment) is light in flavour, but sweet and spicy, reminding me of nothing so much as vanilla chai. Stringybark is probably best of all, with coffee and chocolate notes finishing smooth and either buttery or nutty depending on, it seems, where it came from. I haven't seen that one around lately, either, but I think I will be off to the markets in a few weeks, so I'll have to have another look. i find that the varieties that were available up north tended more to light, floral and citrussy, very different from Canberra region honeys.

I've just got my hands on a jar of ironbark honey, which is smooth and buttery and tastes faintly of almonds. It's delicious, especially drizzled into porridge with stewed apples on cold winter mornings. :)

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