The quality of Yemen honey is known across the Arab world so it was with great excitement that I got to finally try the much lauded and highly prized Sidr Honey from the Wadi Do’an (Do’an Valley), where beekeeping has been practiced for thousands of years.
Sidr honey has a charming brown reddish colour, with a thick viscosity due to its moisture levels (similar to some heather honeys I’ve tried). I found this variety to be particularly sticky to touch. The taste is innocently sweet and mildly fragrant, it seems unimaginable that Yemen, which has been in a state of political crisis for a number of years could produce this glorious sweetness from the land.
Sidr honey is made from bees feasting on the Sidr Tree (also known as the Lote Tree), it is a deep rooted ancient plant, with many medicinal properties. It is mentioned several times in the Quran. The Tree can be found in the semi-desert areas of the Southern Arab Peninsula and its nectar is so potent that bees die after just a few trips.
Sidr honey from Yemen is big business and the honey market in Hadhramaut is the largest in the Arab world (with exports worth a fifth of the money generated by Yemen’s oil industry). However the scarcity of the honey combined with its medicinal properties has meant that Yemen has seen an increase in honey fraud and counterfeit honey is rife. Honey is certainly something to to prized, however Sidr honey, I may not even have tasted the real deal.