There are so many honey related things to write about but somehow this honey just has such a commanding presence that it demands attention....and gets it.
The truth is that this is the honey that got us to sit up take notice and get into the honey business. It was the winter of 2011, when a local acquaintance brought me a jar of Arbutus honey. The winter of 2011 was effectively a drought, it scarcely rained for 3 months straight with temperatures up in the high teens and twenties. The result was a honey which I still consider to be the very best honey I've ever tasted, the honey equivalent of a Chateau Petrus.( I still have a kilo left, I'd sell it for £5000, maybe).
This years Arbutus available for the humble sum of £8.99 for a 500g jar is no slouch either, in fact it is a real contender, and although we get a number of letters every year attesting to the power and healing properties of this pure, raw honey, this letter from a new client pretty much sums it up.
First let me say a massive thank you for your speedy service! I suffer from recurrent tonsillitis and the only thing that ever helps to shift it is honey. Antibiotics can't touch it. I've been using ulmo honey for a few years but it has been getting harder to source in its purest form. I tried manuka but I don't find it helps very much at all. After doing a bit more research, I came across one of your blogs about the antibiotic/healing qualities of arbutus so bought the jar yesterday. It has safely arrived and after just one spoon, my tonsils are back down and I'm almost back on my feet again. It wipes the floor with my ulmo, completely different league. But this brings me to the point. I see that it is a rare honey and I get extremely paranoid about running out of my "medicine". Is this honey a case of grab it whilst it is there and stock up on a couple more jars or should I be safe for a while?
Thank you so much again for this wonderful product. It will make a massive difference to my health.
With kind regards,
We were also recently were sent this blog post by the honey hunter, a London based honey enthusiast and connoisseur who happily shares her unbridled passion for honey
The full blog is reproduced here, but I'd encourage you to visit this lovely lively blog.
Arbutus Honey is made by bees foraging on the blossoms of the Strawberry Tree. I had not come across this evergreen shrub before, that is until a couple of years ago when my husband B in a moment of gardening enthusiasm planted an ornamental one in the middle of our lawn (it’s positioning is as random as it sounds). The tree takes its name from the red fruits it produces that look like small bright round strawberries. The Strawberry Tree features on the coat of arms for Madrid with an image of a bear reaching for the tree’s fruits, symbolizing resiliency and strength.
picture courtesy of "the honey hunter blog"
Arbutus honey has an astonishing taste. It is bizarrely bitter and sweet with a complexity that is enthralling, tasting both culinary and medicinal. The flavour has many layers and it a honey you have to take your time over in order to allow the full Arbutus taste explosion to unfold. The most noticeable part being the after kick which shoots through you, it feels physical and it is utterly reviving. The Arbutus honey is much valued for its medicinal properties and is relatively high in antioxidants.
If you haven’t tried this honey, then you simply must. Whether you love it or hate it (the taste is unique enough to perhaps not be to everyone’s liking) I guarantee that it will tickle your senses, all of them.
The Arbutus is much adored by honey connoisseurs and it is often only available in small limited batches, it is produced in very few places in the world. The Strawberry Tree can be found abundantly on the west coast of Portugal (where my Arbutus honey is from) and around other Mediterranean regions such as Italy and Greece. The honey I am eating is raw, pure and untreated and from Wild About Honey, they have two great taste awards including one for their Carob honey (one of my favourites) I suspect an award for this sublime Arbutus Honey will follow shortly!