Australia produces some of the cleanest honey in the world, with some of the best examples produced by bees thriving on a range of eucalypt trees that colour our pristine native forests. So you can imagine our surprise when on January 2 Melbourne’s The Age newspaper ran a front page story: “Australian honey: how much is safe to eat?”
Publishing report statements taken from Irish researchers, the article highlighted findings that stated Australian honeys tended to have much higher concentrations of toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) than brands from elsewhere.
In response to the article both Australian bee keepers and producers rejected the claims suggesting that “many Australian products are world’s most contaminated”. Food journalist Richard Cornish published a response article explaining that “the reality is a little more complex and rather different from the headlines – in Australia we produce some of the cleanest honey in the world.”
The issue centres around the fact that Australian food authorities allow honey nectar to be collected from a weed called Paterson’s curse (also known as Salvation Jane) to be blended with other honey and sold. Paterson’s curse contains the pyrrolizidine alkaloid toxin. Drought and other issues have led beekeepers to target the weed for nectar however the practice is frowned upon by many in the honey industry.
Jodie Goldsworthy, owner of the Victorian High Country honey company Beechworth Honey, told ABC News the research was “misleading” and reporting of the findings had been “alarmist”. She also stated that “the study compares Australian honey to internationally produced honey, but first it doesn’t validate or verify the authenticity of the honey.”
We agree with Jodie’s point; as with any food we eat, its authenticity really should be the main focus for Australians, i.e. what is the origin of the food, who processed the food and can you talk to the food producer easily about any possible concerns? With this in mind, we often encourage our guests to take a short drive to Beechworth, to learn more about Beechworth Honey and the bees that create it.
Additionally, each day at The Buckland, we’re blessed with enjoying Jodie’s honey, made from bees harvesting nectar in the nearby alpine and sub-alpine forests. Jodie’s products include native honeys from eucalypts such as yellow box, redgum, blue gum and alpine ash. We invite our guests to tempt their discerning tastebuds and try them at our breakfast table.
This experience we feel connects our visitors directly with our local natural environment; after all our luxury self-contained studios and breakfast room each share uninterrupted forest views to Victoria’s Mt Buffalo National Park, and the Alpine National Park. Our local sub-alpine natural forested environment is unique, protected from toxins and foreign plant species and is some of the cleanest wilderness in the world.
With confidence here we list some of our favourite honey’s from the Beechworth Honey range:
Beechworth Honey: Alpine Ash (bold)
The Mountain Ash is the world’s tallest flowering plant and can reach heights of up to 150 metres. The trunk is white or grey in colour. White flowers appear from January to March.
Its honey produces an aroma that’s deep, sappy; similar to that of molasses blended with just a hint of damp alpine forest floor – if you’ve hiked through the Alpine National Park on a wet day you’ll understand this heady and wild aroma. On the palate it presents with a dark caramel flavour like cooked golden syrup. A eucalypt sappy earthiness is also present making this such a powerful and unique honey. Great for meat marinades or for lovers of gutsy flavours.
Beechworth Honey: Lucern Honey (herbaceous)
Lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family, cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. In Australia it’s is used for grazing, hay, and silage where honey bees are used for cross-pollination; vital to ensure maximum quantity and quality of seed production is achieved.
Beechworth lucern honey is sweet and herbaceous with pronounced fresh cut grass and pea aromas. This mild yet ‘loaded with character’ honey is great in salads and healthy cake baking; adding depth and a herbaceous touch.
Beechworth Honey: Quirky, Honey with Vanilla Pod (mild)
The addition (in the jar) of a whole natural vanilla pod infuses this everyday premium honey adding a magnificent complexity. The combination of which delivers a soft cooked caramel, buttery taste. Use it for sweetening tea, salad dressing and as a spoonful indulgent treat on its own!
Beechworth Honey: Creamed (smooth)
With an appearance and texture similar to soft fudge, Beechworth’s creamed honey is mild in favour and serves well as a luxurious textured everyday product.
Beechworth Honey: Coastal (mild)
Costal Banksia flowers help produce honey that smells extremely similar to baked bananas, there are also hints of sea salt in the aroma. Thick and dark, Beechworth’s Costal honey is great with desserts.
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