We get the lowdown on the amber nectar festival from an actual beekeeper
Via: PR / Richard Twilton
We've all been told about the importance of bees: if they don't pollinate, we don't get fruits and vegetables. So what better way to champion our fuzzy black and yellow friends than with a festival of honey?
Back for the fifth year on Sunday 11 October 2015 in London, the London Honey Show is dedicated to the amber nectar. The event will host an awards show where experts will talk about bees and honey, a hive display will be set-up, and stalls and exhibits will be open to explore. But most importantly, there'll be loads of honey for your mouth.
The Lancaster London hotel, where the honey fest is happening, was one of the first central London hotels to house beehives on its office's rooftops. They currently have 10 hives aboard the honey-making train. They even have dedicated 'bee teams' that care for the bees and their harvest, while guests of the hotel get to try the vintage for breakfast.
We chatted with Jo Hemesley, chief bee keeper at the hotel, all about nature's sugar and the little guys who make it.
This is the first year the show is taking place at the weekend. Why is this?
"We're holding it on the weekend during the day as we're keen to encourage families and children to come to it so we can generate interest in beekeeping from a young age."
What's it like keeping bees?
"We keep them on the roof of the office. It's really lovely – probably one of the most interesting things I've ever done. Every year you learn new things and because the weather is different and the seasons obviously change. It's a fun counterpoint to my other role here in my day job. It's lovely to get out from the office and see what my girls have been up to each week."
Photo: PR / Richard Twilton
What's your honey been like this year?
"It's been a good season. It was quite in late starting as we had that spell of warm weather then it cooled back down again, so it felt like it got going later than previous years. Our honey is quite similar year-on-year because our bees are always foraging in Hyde Park as the hotel is nearby. It's a very pale and golden honey with a really lovely taste. It's almost got a citrusy finish to it."
What gives the honey its that taste?
"Your harvest depends on what the bees have foraged their nectar and pollen from, and in Hyde Park I think they get a lot of tree nectar and pollen. There are a lot of lime trees in there and they get a type of nectar that can make it a little citrusy."
How much honey do your bees produce each year?
"Per colony, we get about 20-30 kilos of honey each year. It does vary between colony."
What's your favourite recipe for making muffins?
"Personally, I love making muffins with it. I use the honey with a bit of fruit and a little spice, which just takes the edge off the sweetness."
What other honey-based goods will be on offer at the show?
"One of our famous dishes is our home-smoked salmon and we use a lovely honey glaze on it – that's our show-stopper. We've also got a really nice honey cocktail called the Tennessee Honey Tea with Jack Daniels, breakfast tea, ginger beer and it's very good. All in all, it's a real celebration of all things honey and bees, too."
We hear you like to have a teaspoon of honey everyday. Is that the old wives tale about it stopping hay-fever?
"I'm not a hay-fever sufferer, but I still think it's worth having a spoonful of honey each day. It's just a lovely start to the day. I take it in hot water with a bit of lemon and ginger, which is nice and comforting if I feel I'm getting a cold."
The London Honey Show is on Sunday, 11 October 2015, from 11am - 4pm at Lancaster London. Entry is £1 per person for entry which will be donated to a bee charity. londonbees.com
Liked this? Want more? Then try these:
- The beehive with honey on tap
- Apparently, queen bees are more important to the UK's economy than the actual Queen
- Recipe: honey and raisin muffins
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