Arbutus Honey is made by bees foraging on the blossoms of the Strawberry Tree. I had not come across this evergreen shrub before, that is until a couple of years ago when my husband B in a moment of gardening enthusiasm planted an ornamental one in the middle of our lawn (it’s positioning is as random as it sounds). The tree takes its name from the red fruits it produces that look like small bright round strawberries. The Strawberry Tree features on the coat of arms for Madrid with an image of a bear reaching for the tree’s fruits, symbolising resiliency and strength.
Arbutus honey has an astonishing taste. It is bizarrely bitter and sweet with a complexity that is enthralling, tasting both culinary and medicinal. The flavour has many layers and it a honey you have to take your time over in order to allow the full Arbutus taste explosion to unfold. The most noticeable part being the after kick which shoots through you, it feels physical and it is utterly reviving. The Arbutus honey is much valued for its medicinal properties and is relatively high in antioxidants.
If you haven’t tried this honey, then you simply must. Whether you love it or hate it (the taste is unique enough to perhaps not be to everyone’s liking) I guarantee that it will tickle your senses, all of them.
The Arbutus is much adored by honey connoisseurs and it is often only available in small limited batches, it is produced in very few places in the world. The Strawberry Tree can be found abundantly on the west coast of Portugal (where my Arbutus honey is from) and around other Mediterranean regions such as Italy and Greece. The honey I am eating is raw, pure and untreated and from Wild About Honey, they have two great taste awards including one for their Carob honey (one of my favourites) I suspect an award for this sublime Arbutus Honey will follow shortly!