Food & Home

1- How did you get into producing honey?

Beekeeping has been a cherished hobby in my family for a number of generations. The annual family ritual of the opening of the garden hives in midsummer for the sharing of the bees’ spring bounty by taking their top 1/3 honeycomb, has always been to me one of the most cherished of my earlier memories. While quite frustrated by not being able to source the honey that my taste buds regarded as their ideal and consistently demanded, eventually I had to accept, quite happily I must add, that to solve it I had to have my own bees. It didn’t take all that long for the passionate hobby to become a full time job. Now, and not so jokingly I do tell people that “I am only the slave of my workaholic bees...’

2- Where do you source all of your honey from?

From my own bees and on a radius of around 250km from Johannesburg, I usually get an average of 7 types of honey. Further away and mostly due to the forbidding logistics, I have to rely on some friends and fellow beekeepers for the unique honey(s) that may exist in their specific areas. Needless to say that they must be known for their professional ethics. The honey I sell must be pure, unheated, non irradiated, as well as un-clarified or damaged in any way.

3- Tell me about some of the more unusual flavours/infusions in your range.

In South Africa we are blessed with an extraordinary floral and climatic diversity. With it comes a wide range of superb and unique honeys, namely Boekenhout, Buffalo Thorn, Sweet Thorn (Karroo Acacia), Black Thorn (Acacia Mellifera) Aloe (Davyana), Fynbos, Bush willow (Cumbretum), Avocado and a number of others. To obtain honey with flavours that are not possible directly from the hive, or for particular medicinal purposes, I infuse specific honeys with a wide range of herbs and spices or other natural products. From Cardamom and Cinnamon, to Lemon Grass and Anise, or my healthy and delicious version of marmalade, Mandarine Zest. I also make nut and chocolate spreads, i.e. Raw Honey, Raw Cocoa and Hazel Nuts, also with Macadamia or Almond.

4- What is your favourite way to eat honey?

Some honeys, namely Boekenhout, should be indulged by the spoonful as a most delectable crème brulee. Avocado or Sweet Thorn a must for yogurt. Buffalo Thorn great for porridge and together with Creamed Aloe, for mouth watering toast. For herbal tea definitely Black Thorn, Orange Blossom a blessing with hot scones and Bluegum a good jack of all trades, would do an excellent job for cooking and baking.

5- The strangest food combination that you’ve seen with honey so far?

Carpaccio marinated in Fynbos honey. Seen, tasted it and it was utterly scrumptious. Exactly like some other great recipes, it was the creation of a great chef (Stefano Strafella). (011 784 8580) Stefano also makes Quail in Mead (honey wine), literally to die for...

6- Besides being used in the kitchen, what else is honey good for?

These days honey is back as an essential medicine in hospitals, especially in Europe and namely in the treatment of burns, ulcers, including in the stomach and for healing in post facial reconstruction surgery. In water with a pinch of salt honey makes a most effective treatment for dehydration, including from dysentery. It is extensively used in cosmetic creams or just as facial masks.

7- Where are your products available?

Thrupps, the up market Johannesburg grocery store sells quite a number of my products. A few Health Shops to some extent, but mostly directly from my home (011 783 1993) – kim@thehoneybear.co.za

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