Vanilla Fir is a rare honey - and quite different to other honeys, as I explain below. And organic Vanilla Fir is even rarer. The tree is found only in Greece.
So when Asterios (our main Greek beekeeper) mentioned a colleague called Vasilis, who has hives on Mount Erymathos, my eyes lit up. I researched the area - which is in the Peloponnese - and discovered that it is a Natura 2000 protected area because of its vital importance for wildlife.
Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right.
So it is a fabulous place for wildlife and bees.
There are no roads and villages in the protected area, which is an indication of how wild the place is.
Vasilis' bees roam at 1,000 metres plus on this mountain, where they collect the sap from the Black Mountain Fir tree to create the Vanilla Fir.
Vasilis' is a dedicated organic beekeeper, whose honey has won many awards.
What makes Vanilla Fir special?
- It has a much lower level of sugars than other honeys, being particularly low in glucose meaning it usually never crystallises, unless the bees have also been to another plant whose nectar is high in glucose.
- Vanilla Fir only comes from the Peleponnese in Greece.
It isn't produced every year. often there is little or none available.
- This honey is exceptionally low in moisture - just over 14%
This is a honey that is very rare and very highly valued. Stock is normally quickly snapped up.
The Black Mountain Fir tree (Abies cephalonica) grows mainly in the Peleponnese in Greece.
I have had the honey analysed (and that's all good, no heating and it has all the key characteristics of a Vanilla Fir).
Flavour: Vanilla fir is a thick, earthy, creamy, buttery honeydew honey which has a flavour with hints of vanilla and caramel.
Colour: When runny, the colour of this honey is quite light, with shades of pearl or caramel.
Where it comes from: This honey only comes from the fir forests in the Peloponnese region of Arcadia, This is where the rare Black Mountain Fir tree grows.
More on honeydew honey: Fir tree honey is known as a honeydew, because it is from the sap and resin of the tree not from flower nectar. Honeydews are high in oligosaccharides, which are known for their prebiotic qualities- aiding digestion.
About the beekeeper: It was brought to us by Asterios who has a network of Artisan beekeepers that he works with. One such beekeeper is Vasilis.
How Raw Honey is different from Processed Honey - Raw honey generally means the honey has not been processed, it has come from the hive to the jar with minimal interference. Most supermarket honey is highly processed to make it look more attractive, usually it has been largely drained of pollen, heated and blended. Raw honey tends to vary from batch to batch, this is because it is not processed in a factory, filtered or heated to look homogeneous. Raw honey changes with the season and climate, the soil, what the bees feed on, and the temperament of the colony.
Please know that raw honey does crystalise and this is a natural process that occurs mainly due to the natural glucose in raw honey. For more information on why honey sets visit this article and for a more scientific explanation go to wikipedia.
About Us - Here at The Raw Honey Shop we take honey very seriously and we believe honey should be RAW, unpasteurised and 100% natural. Since 2008 we've been introducing our customers to a whole new world of pure all natural unpasteurised raw honey. With a product catalogue consisting of over 30 different raw and organic honeys we have a variety to suit all tastes.
Thank you for visiting our shop and we look forward to introducing you to a world of raw, pure and truly wonderful natural honey, the way the bees would want it!
*Product photo is representative of this product. Honey colour and texture may vary depending on the season and level of crystalization. Please check the product title and description for accurate contents.*
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