Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Prince Albert's Honey

A dear friend of mine and frequent house guest who knows what a foodie I am, recently surprised me with a rare little something that was manufactured right here in the Principality of Monaco.

She was one of the few lucky recipients of a jar of the first batch of honey or "Lot 001" from HSH Prince Albert's new private apiary in Monaco's Fontvielle neighbourhood and here it was, on our breakfast table.  

After profuse thanks, I grabbed a spoon, dipped it in the jar, and popped it in my mouth.  The honey was quite thick, almost resinous, with a fruity but not floral flavour, and a dominant finish of pine.  Two words would sum it up:  delicious and intriguing.

Of course the minute I finished licking my spoon I shot over to Fontvielle to see the Prince's apiary for myself.

The Prince has always been ecology-minded, introducing forward thinking green initiatives for the Principality and here was one delicious one under way right within our own borders. 

The Prince's rucher or apiary, consists of 6 ochre hives snuggled into a lovely, lush garden on the roof of  La Musée des timbres et des monnaies, or Museum of Stamps and Coins, just to the west of the Jardin Animalier or Monaco's Zoo.  It was obvious once seeing the vegetation on the roof top garden why the honey tasted the way it did:  It was dominated by umbrella pine trees.
As it turns out, urban bee keeping is taking off world wide. Case in point, amidst  the  towering skyscrapers of Hong Kong in what must be the world's most hostile environment for bees, designer Michael Leung has become Hong Kong's first urban bee keeper.  Mr Lueng founded his company, HK Honey in July 2010 and along with his network of Hong Kong bee keepers they produce enough honey to create an exclusive range of honey- based products to keep his shop stocked year round.  In true Hong Kong style, he also designs chic hives.

Hopefully the Prince's apiary will continue to be a success and he'll make enough honey to sell to others or at least bestow a jar or two upon we humble residents.

I'll be one of the first in line.

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