Arataki Honey has been going since 1944 and is the biggest honey producer in the southern hemisphere.
You can find them right here in Hawkes Bay, where they have a good-sized visitor centre which is worth a visit. I popped by on my gastronomical tour of the central North Island.
As well as fun activities for kids and educational stuff, they have their pièce de resistance – a honey tasting bar. Genius! Squirt a droplet of nine different honeys onto your spoon and read the tasting notes and recommendations for each one. It’s a great way to compare and contrast until you have a good idea what honeys you love and which don’t do it for you.
There is, of course, the famous mānuka honey for which New Zealand is well-known in the honey world. Mānuka honey has a strong earthy flavour and antibacterial properties which have led to wider interest. Manuka is the local name for Tea Tree. It’s a common prickly shrub with little white flowers found in the drier parts of New Zealand.
But we also have other unique honeys. Kāmahi was my favourite flavour, and one that we now see cropping up on menus and in herbal drinks, etc. Although the kāmahi bush is widespread from the central North Island downwards, the honey is considered premium, so probably worth saving this one for special occasions. My own special occasions included camp site feasts of rewena bread and honey and cheese!
Also of interest is Arataki’s recent brand refresh – some pics on local Hawkes Bay design agency Band’s website here.