Australia is noted for the production of several varieties of eucalypt honeys, including Blue Gum, Ironbark, Jarrah, Messmate and Stringybark.
These tend to be characterised by a strong flavour with distinctive medicinal accents. Manuka honey, from the Manuka Myrtle (Leptospermum scoparium) has become chiefly associated with New Zealand, although this plant is also indigenous to Australia. It’s valued for its antibacterial properties and also contains antioxidants that can boost vitality and immunity.
One of the most highly-prized monofloral honeys originates from our own island state. Hidden in the moist understorey of Tasmania’s rainforest wilderness is an endemic species of plant that produces a honey with an extraordinary, complex, spicy aroma and taste that has been hailed by connoisseurs around the globe. The Leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida) is a small tree that normally grows to around 10 metres in height and is common only in the World Heritage forests of Tasmania’s west. Fragrant, white, rose-like flowers appear in spring and summer, followed by leathery capsules.
Although found in rugged, inaccessible country, the Leatherwood forests are nevertheless threatened by logging; Tasmanian beekeepers have lobbied the government to protect this irreplaceable resource. Leatherwood trees are slow to mature, and may not be capable of producing nectar for 70 years or more. Roads are almost nonexistent in these remote areas, and vital access for beekeepers is provided by the West Coast Wilderness Railway, constructed more than 100 years ago.
Leatherwood honey has also been shown to contain important antioxidants and trace elements. Due to the isolated and difficult terrain, annual production is very limited. The honey is commonly sold raw, with minimal processing, in order to retain the very essence of the pristine Tasmanian rainforest. From ancient forests that are a relict of mystical Gondwanaland, devotees maintain that Leatherwood honey retains a purity that is unsurpassed!
Find delicious Leatherwood honey for sale in Ben’s Bees shop.