In the middle of an ancient rainforest region grows the secret behind something that has the whole gourmet world buzzing…
In the middle of an ancient rainforest region, vast swathes of which are World Heritage-listed, grows the secret behind something that has the whole gourmet world buzzing: the Leatherwood Tree.
Endemic to Tasmania, the Leatherwood blossoms from January to March, spreading a strong, sweet smell that sets the bees hard at work. The resultant honey has an unusual, spicy, tangy taste and a strong aromatic scent. These golden drops fetch almost twice the price of normal honey and have become a sought after delicacy around the world. But to sample this distinctive gift of nature fresh from the beehive, there’s no other place to head but Tasmania.
Sadly, below the sweet surface looms a problem. The very existence of Tassie’s Leatherwood (the origins of which date back as far as 65 million years) is under threat due to persistent logging of eucalypts. What does that have to do with the Leatherwood? Nothing, except that they often grow alongside the targeted eucalyptus and are simply innocent bystanders chopped down in the process. A worrying thought when you realise that 70 percent of the honey production in Tasmania comes from the Leatherwood.
Where // Leatherwood honey is sold throughout Tasmania, but visitors to the factory of R Stephens Tasmanian Honey can view the production process, taste and purchase the honey at Mole Creek, (03) 63 631170, www.leatherwoodhoney.com.au
Did you know? // Enzymes in a bee’s stomach change the molecular structure of nectar, turning it into a thick substance that’s stored in the beehive. So what you’re actually enjoying is something that has been squeezed through a bee’s body. Strange when you think about it.
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