As a special birthday treat to ourselves, Rohan and I booked a three night getaway to Melbourne for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Dismayed at how long the car journey would take in one lot (7-8 hours straight through), we decided to break it up a bit and spend a night in Beechworth.
Beechworth’s claim to fame is its beautiful Victorian architecture on the main street and its links with Ned Kelly. But the thing that drew us to Beechworth, apart from the convenience of it being on the way to Melbourne, was the culinary experience. The area around Beechworth is particularly well-known for the sweeping vineyards and fine dining, but Beechworth has even more. Beechworth Honey produces over 40 varieties of local bush honey, and I was very excited to taste them all.
Picture from Tripadvisor
The Beechworth Honey Experience provided us with all the honey-based products and information you could ever need. We arrived at 9am on a freezing (it was actually sleeting) Monday morning to be ushered through to the ‘tasting table’, spread with the 40 varieties of honey organised from mild to bold. We were told to take our time, smelling and tasting, before deciding if we wanted to purchase any to take with us. Some were ordinary yellow or red box varieties, and others were flavoured with eucalyptus or had the taste of raspberry, depending on which trees the beekeepers put the hives under.
We also had the opportunity for a commentary-guided tour of the Honey Experience museum, which took us through the history of honey-making in Beechworth, how it’s produced, and the problems traditional beekeepers are facing in our day and age. It was incredible to find out how much of our agricultural systems rely on honey bee pollination.
The other thing that surprised me was how personal the honey production process was. Each beekeeper camped with their hives for the duration of the flowering period, sometimes out in the middle of the bush, and many chose not to wear gloves or protection, preferring stings over the distance from their bees.
I could definitely have spent a lot of time (and money) in the wonderfully warm and quaint store, browsing their beeswax candles and honey-based cosmetic products, but my restraint meant I left after only an hour and a half with a couple jars of Orange Blossom and Tasmanian Leatherwood honey. Ah well, until next time.
You can find more information about the Beechworth Honey Experience on their website HERE,
or visit them at 31 Ford Street, Beechworth VIC