Friday, 16 September 2011

London's Buzzing - The Rise of London Honey

Take that countryside, London is literally buzzing with bees! Here's a piece I wrote  for Scout London on the rise of London honey. Sweet.

As bees throughout the countryside face growing problems from disease, infection and something called Colony Collapse Disorder, their street-wise inner-city cousins are faring up rather better. London’s bee population has shown the biggest increase of anywhere in the UK, with our city said to be the perfect place for them due to the enormous variety of flowers and trees, the large park spaces and the temperate climate. Now London’s entrepreneurial foodie types are turning to honey making as a way to capitalise on the phenomenon. And before you ask, NO – pollution does not affect the honey one iota.

As Scout London previously reported, October saw the inaugural London Honey Show, which was hosted by the Lancaster London hotel. It celebrated their moving of an established Camberwell hive to their W2 location not far from Hyde Park and the start of them serving dishes made using the honey.

The big winner of the night was Peter James, beekeeper from Chelsea Physic Garden, who won a grand total of five awards, including the public’s vote. Sadly, this exquisite Made In Chelsea nectar has already run out, but we’re hanging on for the next batch.

In the meantime, head south for a taste of London’s Best Restaurant Honey, created by Dale Gibson’s bees atop a Bermondsey Street roof and served and sold exclusively at Delfina restaurant. We tasted their special menu, which includes fig tart, roasted pork and cheesecake, all aided by this most locally sourced ingredient you’re likely to find, and recommend you do the same whilst the menu runs for the next couple of weeks.The Three Stags in Kennington is also worth a venture. This understated but locally loved gastropub is cooking with their own roof’s harvest, which is the latest string to this sustainable establishment’s bow.

The rather elite sounding Regent’s Park Honey is also now available. Created by Pure Food, it’s available to buy in shops including La Fromagerie, Sourced Market and Fortnum & Mason. Pure London Honey is less rooted, favouring a variety of hive locations across the city (predominantly around south London), with stockists including Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, MacFarlane’s Delicatessen in Clapham, and East Dulwich Deli. You can probably guess where that one is. And the good people at SPACE studios in Hackney are also getting in on the act, with possibly the most urban hives of all, though – like many pre-Olympic projects in London at the moment – we won’t reap the benefits until 2012. Let’s just hope the amber nectar isn’t our only bit of Gold that year… 

>> Originally published on Scout London

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