Here are a few unique honeys from locations that are far off the beaten track. In the western world, we buy honey from supermarket shelves these days, as just another grocery item. The mystique of exotic honeys, each with its own signature blend of flavors and medicinal herbs, has faded to a distant memory in the wake of our drive-thru lifestyle.
Honey is as much a treasure as fine wine, champagne, tea, chocolate or essential oil… a gem to be cherished and appreciated. Perhaps we can recapture the art of savoring honey flavors of the world while we still have incredible honeys at our disposal.
Let’s take a short journey from Turkey to Yemen to Oman and find out about three rare honeys that may ignite your curiosity…
‘Elvish’ honey is said to be the most expensive honey in the world, selling for 5,000 euros per kilo (approximately $6,800). This thick honey is from hives in the Saricayir Valley near the town of Artvin in northeastern Turkey. It is totally natural and extremely rare. Turkish third-generation beekeeper Gunduz Gunay says it is from a cave that is rich in minerals…he discovered the cave in 2009 when he saw a swarm of bees entering it. Professional mountaineers helped him descend into the 1,800-meter depths of the cave where the air is pure, and the water is rich in minerals. The 18 kilograms of honey he harvested from the cave walls was analyzed at a French laboratory and was found to have been there for 7 years. The high-quality honey is rich in minerals. The first kilogram sold for 45,000 euros, the second kilogram for 28,000 euros. Now it is going for the ‘bargain’ price of 5,000 euros. The area is extremely rich in medicinal, rare and endangered plants, which adds to its value.
Yemeni Sidr honey is reputedly one of the finest in the world due to the land's vegetation and fertile pastures for bees. It grows wild and unrefined in the desert and this organic honey is derived from the nectar of the flowers from the Sidr Lote tree, and this results in many varieties of honey that taste incredible. ... this raw, potent and pure honey is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It is expensive but with good reason, and the story behind it is quite extraordinary. In fact, not every bee can withstand the potency of these flowers, so many die after a few foraging trips. This Sidr honey from Hadramaut Mountains of Yemen and Saudi Arabia is very sweet, said by some to be the most expensive honey in the world. This honey has been around for about 7,000 years and is produced by bees that forage on the sacred sidr tree and elb tree, which are holy trees in the Muslim faith. Christians call the sidr tree Christ’s thorn. It has special medicinal properties and is only harvested twice annually during a strict 40-day period under difficult harvest conditions. The sidr tree also has fruits, figs, raisins and dates, all of which are highly valued energetically. Inside caves in the remote mountains, bees make wild hives and produce what is probably the most expensive Yemeni honey, Kahouf—or cave—honey from Wadi Amd.
The ancient art of beekeeping is changing in Oman, where old ways are slowly being forgotten and modern ways are helping to make honey harvesting easier. Beekeepers of the Al-Hajar Mountains in northern Oman are skilled in ancient sustainable beekeeping, where they are used to keeping larger honey bees in hollowed out trunks of date palms known as tubl. To obtain honey, the beekeeper must cut away some of the palm from the back of the tubl. The blossoms of the acacia tortilla trees in this northern area yield Al Somer honey whereas in southern Oman the frankincense trees create Al Luban honey which can sell for as much as 80 euros.
If you know of any rare honey from this region of the world please share with us over on our Facebook page.