Production of honey around the world is done by harvesting from domesticated beehives (or apiculture). Compared to traditional methods where wild beehives and nests are often sacrificed for the stored golden liquid, current methods are crueltyfree where bees are pacified and unharmed throughout. Even with the same production methods, different countries can carry honey which differ in colour and taste, mainly because of a differing nectar source (i.e. flowers). Here’s a quick summary of some honey varieties and where they are mainly produced around the globe.
- Avocado honey. In case you’re wondering, nope – avocado honey does not taste like avocados! Though it does have a creamy texture like that of an avocado when compared to usual store-bought honey, it also tastes richer and has a darker colour. Because of its stronger taste, it may not be for everyone!
- Buckwheat honey. The most common dark-coloured honey you’ll find, it is mainly produced in Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. It has a slightly pungent flavour with malty tone and aftertaste. Because of its strong taste and smell, we would suggest that you only try it if you’re more adventurous since you’ll either love it or hate it!
- Eucalyptus honey. With a large plant family of unique species in the hundreds, you can expect a variety of eucalyptus honey differing in colour and flavour. That being said, you’ll always notice a medicinal aroma in all of them.
- Linden honey is a well-loved, light-coloured honey with a surprisingly strong taste and earthy aroma, with notes of spiciness and a slightly bitter aftertaste. This variety of honey is a little tricky to harvest given that the nectar is only available in a short, three-week window. With global warming resulting in unpredictable weather patterns of late, the lower yield of linden honey has threatened its production, hence the slightly larger price tag on this variety.
- Acacia honey. Don’t be deceived by its name, for it is actually derived from the black locust tree native to Europe. Of a light amber colour, this honey is one of the lightest in flavours you will find, with subtle floral notes to top it off.
- Manuka honey is native to New Zealand and Australia, the only place on earth where tea trees grow! This makes the Manuka honey rare and highly valued. To root out dupes and maintain quality control, genuine Manuka honey comes with a UMF mark. The higher the UMF rating, the darker the colour and the sweeter it gets. Its priciness goes beyond its rarity, as it’s world-renowned for its nutritional value and antibacterial properties (more so than most honey varieties).
- Leatherwood honey is another rare honey. Native to Tasmania, it carries a bold and full-bodied flavour and aroma that hits you in the back of your throat right when you open the jar. It also carries a lingering spiciness within its earthy taste.
- Mad honey or deli bal. You heard that right, this honey – mainly produced in Nepal and Turkey – are produced by bees that feed on the nectar of the rhododendron flowers which grow in remote, mountainous areas. These flowers have a natural neurotoxin that leads to intoxication and hallucinations. Hands down, this honey beats any hard alcohol in bringing about that delirious high. This is definitely not a honey you would be drizzling on your granola.
- Sidr honey is arguably the rarest and most expensive honey in the world (more so than Manuka). Native to Yemen, it is a highly sought-after honey because of its potent medicinal properties. As it is also the highly potent honey continuously cited in religious texts, Sidr honey is purportedly more medicinal and nutritious than Manuka honey. Taste wise, it is thick with a rich and buttery sweet taste.
We hope that this small glimpse of the honey atlas has expanded your worldview (so to speak) of the honey varieties around the world, and that you are now a little more excited about honey as we are!