Local Liquid Gold - Honey

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  Terroir, varietals, a lingering long finish, floral notes, subtle or complex tones... no, we’re not referring to wines or even olive oils. Honey, too, comes in diverse colours, aromas and flavour profiles that truly reflect the region. Like a fortified wine, manuka honey can be dark, thick, even medicinal tasting. Amber-coloured Rewarewa honey has a rich, complex palate, with Tawari resembling a full-bodied chardonnay, floral and strong. Rata and apple blossom honey is packed with citrus and sunshine, while transparent, runny Pohutukawa fare can taste like a dessert wine.

Autumn is the perfect season to get together with friends and host a honey-tasting party. Choose a selection of honeys from one of the local producers, pair it with figs and walnuts, Pecorino or blue cheese, local olives and wines, and enjoy trying to identify the complexities of each honey.

A few of our local honey experts:

The new-look Warkworth Honey Centre on SH1 between Puhoi and Warkworth has an expansive range of honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly and the largest display of live bees behind a glass viewing wall. (www.honeycentre.com)

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At the Matakana Honey Merchant in the heart of the village, visitors can watch the honey factory in action. The boutique honey crafters export much of their liquid gold to Europe, but the shop is laden with goodies. (www.nzhealthnaturally.com)

Local beekeeper Roger Alexander from Matakana Honey can be found every Saturday selling his sweet produce at the Farmers’ Market. (www.matakanahoney.co.nz)

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Puhoi Honey gives you the chance to do more to sustain the bee populations with their Adopt a Hive programme. (

By backing local beekeepers and honey merchants, you’re also supporting an industry that is vital to us all. Albert Einstein once prophetically remarked: “Mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years.”