Robin is well known for his fondness of honey – so much so that the family sometimes give him a selection of honey for Christmas. While we were in the area, we travelled to the recently refurbished Arataki Honey Centre to refill his honey containers with liquid Rewarewa honey. Although Manuka honey is his absolute favourite, it is twice the price, so Rewarewa is second choice as far as flavour goes.
The Honey Centre was a busy place, with people coming and going. The shop is nicely set out, and the honey tasting area is a real hit with visitors, including the bus load of Indian people who came in not long after us. We were keen to try the Blue Borage honey, but the pump dispensers were empty. The assistant came to our aid and refilled them, so everyone got to try some of this delicious honey. Blue Borage is a small wild flower found mainly in the dry river beds of the South Island. The honey produced from these striking blue flowers has a delicate, mildly herbal flavour. We pushed down on the pump dispensers and the runny honey trickled into our plastic teaspoons - much better than everyone dipping wooden sticks into the same honey pot.
There were interesting displays all around the centre, such as the working life of a bee keeper. Did you know that the most famous New Zealand bee keeper was Sir Edmund Hillary, who went on to conquer Mt Everest?
Children were well catered for in the Kids Corner, with various activities and microscopes to peer through. Busy bees were coming and going through the glass fronted hives, and we watched the short film called “Welcome to my Hive”. It was amazing to watch baby worker bees crawl out of their hexagonal cells in the bee hive, shake their wings, and join in with their busy sisters.
And just in case you didn’t know:
1: Newlyweds used to drink Honey Mead for one month (one moon) hence “Honeymoon”.
2: The Egyptians used honey to embalm their dead, and apparently Alexander the Great was buried in honey.
3: Honey has been turned into Mead, and is the basis for the liqueur Drambuie.
4: The survivor of the most bee stings had to endure 2243 stings – lesser mortals probably expired well before receiving this number of stings.
It was fish and chips for dinner from the fish shop with such an exciting, extensive range of wet fish, Hawkes Bay Seafoods. This business was established in 1997 by the D’Esposioto brothers, Nino and Joe. Within five years the turnover had increased 6000 percent. We dined like royalty on fresh battered fish, battered prawn skewers, and a whole heap of chips, all for just under $10.00 for the two of us. It was a delicious meal to finish off another relaxed Hastings day.