The Journal | #Fortnums

Manuka Honey

Our Manuka Honey from New Zealand

A Little Pot of Gold...

In the beautiful valleys of New Zealand – a hop, skip and well, a really long plane ride from our home in Piccadilly – a monumental event occurs for a short time only once per year.

It starts with a Manuka tree, which resembles more of a bush than a tree. Its nectar is known as one of the oldest natural substances in the world. Every year our beekeepers wait for the short window in which the Manuka tree will bud, the bees will collect its nectar and it will be transformed into a delicious treat that will soon grace the shelves of Fortnum’s. Amongst the rugged New Zealand landscape this spritely tree could easily be overlooked, but in recent decades it has become one of New Zealand’s most prized flora. When in bloom, pink and white flowers blossom from a shrubbery of deep green, their fragrance strong and sweet.

With the flowering of the Manuka tree a pilgrimage ensues. Our honey is made by a Maori-owned company of beekeepers who follow the natural lifecycle of each flowering tree, moving across New Zealand from the North Island to the South trailing the Manuka trees as they blossom.

After it is gathered, it is tested for quality both in New Zealand and the UK. Our Manuka Honey is genuine, single variety, pure batch Manuka. It hasn’t been needlessly blended with anything else, it’s not pasteurised or over-filtered, and has been independently tested on all the above counts – it is simply pure, delicious Manuka.

While Manuka Honey may be the pride of New Zealand, it was a British beekeeper – Mary Bumby – who brought the western bee species that collects its nectar over to New Zealand in 1839. Mary kept two baskets of honey bees alive on a six-month voyage from England to New Zealand. More than 140 years later, a British scientist – named Peter Molan MBE – discovered the anti-bacterial properties of Manuka nectar in 1981.

With our long-standing appreciation for the world’s finest foods, it is no surprise that you can find Manuka Honey at Fortnum & Mason. Our shelves are already home to honeys from all over the world – from Zambia to Banbury and Vietnam to Salisbury Plain – we have a vast collection of the sweet stuff from the finest hives the world over (not to mention those harvested from hives on our rooftops around London, including atop our Piccadilly store). These, however, are our very first of our Manukas.

Our 300+ MGO Manuka Honey and 500+ MGO Manuka Honey both have a lovely tawny colour and a slightly crunchy texture created by sweet sugar crystals. MGO stands for methoglyoxal, a special natural sugar found only in honey made from high concentrations of Manuka nectar. MGO has anti-bacterial properties, so the higher the figure on the bottle, the more MGO.

Long scientific words aside, it also tastes delicious. Crafted to be devoured in all their sweet goodness, our Manuka Honey’s are a versatile addition to your kitchen – whether as an early morning pick-me-up or a midnight feast. Pair with freshly baked bread or with a dollop of smooth yoghurt, use as a sweetener for tea, or spread a beautiful glaze atop of smoked fish.