I’m currently eating Himalayan Highland honey from Ogilvy’s. Raw, cold pressed and organic certified, it comes all the way from the rainforests of Himalayan mountains in the Kashmir valleys. This honey has an intense, rich and bold taste, it is not a honey to scoop from the jar, this one needs a partner to temper its personality. I went for yoghurt and fruit.
This Himalayan Highland honey is a great taste winner and Shamus Ogilvy must be delighted, his honey company has 6 great taste awards for British and regional honeys from around the world. Mr Ogilvy started his company after a stint with the army in Kosovo. His time in the Balkans led him to experience some delicious honey and from that he went off honey hunting to find and present the best honeys from around the world. Ogilvy’s honey was born in 2011 and has a range of artisan honey including from Brazil, Zambia and Serbia.
However, centuries before Mr Ogilvy, the Gurung (a tribes people from the Himalayas of Nepal, that still exists today) were also looking for honey. The Gurung have among them master honey hunters, who are experts at raiding huge bee nests built on the overhanging rocks of cliffs (the yield can be impressive, up to 60kg per nest).
This photograph of the Gurung is by the photographer Andrew Newey, he spent a couple of weeks photographing the Gurung on their honey hunts. Capturing both the beauty and risks involved.
The Himalayas are home to the world’s largest honey bees (up to 3cm long). Honey made by the the bees foraging on nectar from certain Rhodendron flowers (which are poisonous) gives the honey potent properties. ‘Red honey’ as it’s known can be a powerful hallucinogenic. It is worth 4 times the price of normal honey so honey hunters will take great risks to get hold of it. Whilst the psychedelic hit might be quite enjoyable (I’ve not tried it, so can not verify), in larger doses the honey can be toxic, even fatal.
From the Gurung back to Ogilvy, not quite as mind bending though certainly a delight for the palette.