The smell of this honey is extraordinary – not just the lanolin musk that is familiar from other honeys, but something meatier, more animal. Someone once described a honey to me as having the scent of racehorses and I thought they were impressively cool – but untruthful. But this honey’s scent is definitely somewhere on the continuum of horses to dogs. It’s the colour of Shergar too: a nut-brown that’s appropriate – exactly the colour of the shells (not the kernels) of those delicious fat macadamia nuts.
The taste is much more appetising than the smell, though in the lack of sweetness and in the musky aftertaste you can still identify what it was your nose picked up as aroma. Reminiscent of marron glace, you find the ghost of nuts in your mouth, too: this would go wonderfully in nut biscuit baking, or in banana honey bread or drizzled over chocolate ice-cream.
My little pot is too precious to use in quantities like that, though, as it was brought over for me by a friend in Hawaii. Along with the Nigerian honey I reviewed, this is the only honey I’ve tasted whose place of origin I haven’t visited. It’s an intimate way to travel, rolling around your mouth the sunshine and nectar of a tropical land far away. I think of Margy and Hub, and their macadamia-nut coloured dogs that I’ve seen in photographs, busy as bees in their generous support of our charity’s work in Kosovo (Margy has mobilised people all over Hawaii to donate clothes, shoes and school bags to children in Kosovo whose poverty threatens to prevent them going to school, and last month Hub ‘popped’ over to Kosovo with his beekeeper brother to build a house for a family in desperate need, and to lay some decent flooring in our children’s centre; later this month Margy is ‘popping’ back to run some dance, movement and relaxation classes for us).
They’ve taught me some Hawaiian words during the time I’ve known them, so now I know how to thank the bees for the work which led to this fine, unusual honey, but also how to thank Margy and Hub for their extraordinary, overwhelming generosity – not just to me with this gift, but to all the people of Kosovo they have helped through their giving over many months. MAHALO!
My book telling the story of my Kosovan adventures in honey-harvesting and honey-eating is Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo, published last year by Signal Books