The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Waikato - The Land of Cheese, Honey & Beer!!

Written by Stephanie on August 28th, 2015.      0 comments

Kirikiriroa-and-cheeseAs you may know, we like to think Sweetree honey is a true reflection of Waikato's varied flora and locations.  Much like a great wine reflects the terroir of where the grapes have grown, Sweetree Honey’s different varieties reflect the area and season the bees worked their magic.  When you taste our different honeys it's like wine tasting, each one has it's own flavour profile, aroma and texture.  So what about pairing our honey with other special foods?

We are lucky in the Waikato to have such a great variety of high quality producers!  In our opinion, two of the best are Meyer Cheese & Good George Brewery, both Waikato awarding winning producers.  Meyer cheese is New Zealand’s best quality hand made Gouda cheese, they make a variety of Gouda cheeses the traditional way, and it's divine!   Good George beers and ciders are definitely not bland, full of chemicals, mass-produced or boring! They believe that exploring and drinking beer should be enjoyable, simple and really rewarding. 

We recently had a relaxing and fun afternoon at Good Neighbour Brew Bar (in Rototuna) with the team from Meyer Cheese and Good George, pairing our products together.  We thought it would be a great way of finding those special and different flavour nuances coming through for each of our products.

We found some really great matches!  Here's our very favourite pairings:Pairing-honey-on-cheese-206

Cheese Honey Beer / Cider
Amsterdammer Marokopa Spring White Ale
Cumin Gouda Marokopa Summer Sparkling
Marokopa Summer White Ale
Marokopa Manuka Cider
Fenugreek Gouda Four Brothers Reserve Cider
Marokopa Summer Cider
Marokopa Manuka IPA
Tasty Gouda Marokopa Manuka IPA
Vintage Gouda Marokopa Manuka Amber Ale
Horsham Downs Country Amber Ale
Garlic & Chives Kirikiriroa IPA
Hakarimata Sparking
Cracked Pepper Marokopa Summer Amber Ale
Come down to the Good Neighbour Degustation Dinner on Thurs 24th Sept and try great Waikato food using some of these combinations!!

Here’s some tasting notes from each of the food types mentioned above:

Sweetree Honey's: 

Marokopa Spring:  This is a thick buttery honey which tastes like beeswax, clover and sea spray with a salted toffee apple aftertaste.

Marokopa Summer: Think of the beach!  This honey tastes like grapefruit, wildflowers with a blueberry, hokey pokey with dark chocolate and burnt sugar aftertaste.

Marokopa Manuka:  This season’s Manuka has a dried raisins and pineapple flavour with fresh pear and baby carrot and a fresh plum aftertaste.

Four Brothers Reserve:  A soft buttery honey with a butterscotch taste with touches of pinenut and citrus.

Horsham Downs Country: Much like a sweet fruit liquor, with the perfect balance of sweet and sour – think verjuice.

Hakarimata:  Think dried prunes, ripe home grown banana, this honey has a deep dark caramel taste leading into butterscotch.

Kirikiriroa:  Think of a summer picnic! This honey tastes of caramel, lemon pith with a vanilla Crème brûlée aftertaste.

Meyer Cheese's: 

Amsterdammer: Named after the popular city in Holland this cheese has a higher moisture content so has a slightly creamier texture and mild acidic tone which is a result of the increased moisture levels.

Tasty Gouda: Tasty Gouda is aged for about 9 months, at this age it still retains its smooth creamy texture but has started to develop that sharp bite and full bodied flavour which aged Gouda’s are famous for.

Vintage Gouda: The name says it all. Crumbly parmesan like texture and a bite like no other, this cheese has what most cheese lovers want a strong full bodied flavour with Bite. After eating it lingers on the palate for quite some time.

Cumin Gouda: Even though Cumin is an Indian spice cumin Gouda is an extremely tradition Dutch cheese. Early spice traders from India set out for Europe and the spices were quickly found to be used in the Cheeses. Not only was the flavour really good but it also added a nutritional value to a travel ready product.

Cracked Pepper: For those who love pepper, try it! Cracked Pepper Gouda is made from cracked whole black and white pepper corns, hand mixed and aged for about 8 weeks.

Fenugreek Gouda: This cheese has an excellent aroma! The seeds give off a sweet smell which is evident once cutting open the cheese. The taste is also mild, sweet and nutty.

Garlic & Chives: For those who love Garlic, this Gouda is packed with Garlic to give it a good strong flavour. The chives not only make the cheese look good but round off the sharpness of the garlic so you still enjoy the taste of cheese.

Good George Beer's & Cider:

White Ale:  A crafty blend of New Zealand botanicals gives this wheat ale a subtle, spicy kick against the backdrop of sweet navel orange. It’s always summer somewhere in Waikato, the perfect everyday drop.

Amber Ale:  Brewed with a classic English bitter in mind. This beer is about rich, caramel malts, balanced with a dash of colonial hops. The Hard Workers beer, we’ll let you have a couple.

IPA:  Inspired by the wave of punchy new world hops. A lovely soft malt backbone is balanced perfectly with juicy, mouth-coating hoppy GOODness & a smooth lingering bitterness.

Cider:  A GOOD cider should balance fruity succulence with subtle tartness. We reckon we've hit it on the nose. Bursting on the palate with white-wine sweetness, the finish is crisp, dry & refreshing. Lip-smackingly drinkable.

Why don’t you try some combinations yourself?!

About Good Neighbour

Good Neighbour Brew Bar, in Rototuna, is where the local brewing of fine beer & cider is quietly celebrated with the company and conversation of the people who love to drink it. It is the coming together of great hospitality and the craft of brewing good beer & cider.

Good Neighbour prides itself on sourcing locally made produce with the emphasis on selecting only the freshest ingredients. The menu includes a range of hand crafted pizzas, smoked meats and fresh foods. The on-site micro brewery produces specialty beers only for consumption at Good Neighbour while the other beers and ciders are delivered fresh daily from the local Good George Brewery in Frankton.

They are cycle friendly, beer friendly and people friendly too. Drop in for a casual drink in the garden bar, a meal or share a pizza with friends. Their upstairs bar and balcony is a great place to hang out or hire for your next party or event.


Preventing Seasonal Allergies

Written by Stephanie on August 21st, 2015.      0 comments

sneeze2Spring is just around the corner!  Yeah - more daylight hours, flowers blooming and birds singing.  More time to spend in the garden and playing outside with the kids.  But for hay fever sufferers spring can be a dreaded time!  Sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat, coughing, itchy nose, blocked/runny nose or worse.  During this time many people stock up on tissues and run to the chemist to grab antihistamine, sometimes even antihistamine isn't enough.  It's no fun at all!

In spring hay fever can be triggered by tree and grass pollen.  There are two types of flower pollen. One is very light and is easily airborne, this light pollen causes allergies. The second pollen is heavier, it is collected by bees and made into bee pollen.

Did you know that research indicates that if you take small amounts of bee pollen from your local area a few months before the hay fever season your body may become desensitised to the air borne pollens?  It works like a vaccination does against childhood diseases. Desensitisation is based on the idea that the taking of the bee pollen will cause the body to produce antibodies that will cancel out the effects of the air born pollen when the person is exposed to it again.  See below this blog for more details on research in the area.

Many of our customers have commented that their allergies have lessened when either taking Sweetree Bee Pollen or Honey.  Our honey is not finely filtered and therefore retain a high pollen count.  So to help with your hay fever symptoms try either taking bee pollen everyday or raw honey from your local area. Sweetree produce bee pollen in the Horsham Downs area and honey from Hamilton City, Horsham Downs, Raglan, Ngaurwahia, Marokopa (King Country), Coromandel areas.

If you feel you need something more to protect you against allergies see a health professional.  You may want to see your doctor, pharmacy, herbalist, Chinese medicine therapist, Naturopath, etc. 

Breath easy this spring!

Check out the Research on Bee Pollen 
lie in grass

Sweetree Avoids Plastic

Written by Stephanie on August 14th, 2015.      0 comments

Many people, including Martin and I, like to limit purchase of food in plastic packaging.  People do this for various reasons  but mainly for environmental or health motivations.  One way of limiting plastic is to purchase food in glass jars instead of plastic.  When we were deciding how to package our honey it had to be glass.  It is so much more healthier, attractive and environmental friendly.

But have you thought about how honey is stored before it goes into the jar?  In the beehive honey used to always be stored on beeswax comb foundation which was wired into a wooden frame.  But what is most commonly used now is plastic frames with plastic sheets embossed with hexagon indentations for the bees to work with as a foundation. The other common one is a wooden framing with a plastic insert foundation.  Here's some photos of what they look like.

plastic-foundation       Plastic-frame

The thing that concerns us about these is the possibility of plastic residue getting into the honey, the bees health working from a plastic foundation, let alone the environmental issue of what to do with the plastic frames and foundations when they are broken or past there best.  We was concerned to see all these plastic beehives (the whole hive in plastic) for sale at a beekeeping conference we recently attended.  That's a lot of plastic!  What will happen to them when they are finished with?

Sweetree's policy is to use wooden hive gear and frames with beeswax foundations wherever possible for our honey collection.
Beehive frame with beeswax foundation

Keeping your Kids Healthy this Winter!

Written by Stephanie on August 7th, 2015.      0 comments

trampolineI often get asked, "How come your kids never get sick?".  They hardly ever get colds, coughs or get sick and if they do it only lasts for a short period of time. 

I believe diet has a huge part to play, hence we avoid colours, favourings, preservatives, etc in food.  We eat like our grandparents used to eat and cook from scratch and try to ensure a good balanced diet.  I'm sure that has something to do with them being so healthy.

They also have cod liver oil every day and vitamin c every day during the winter months.  I am also pretty strict about them getting enough sleep!  I think sleep deprivation in kids has a big part to play in low immunity.

At the first sign of a cold I pop a couple of drops of Propolis tincture or 5mls Echinacea tincture in a little bit of water once or twice a day until symptoms are gone.  If they get a sore throat or a cough I give them a teaspoon of our 7+ Manuka honey every couple of hours or so.

If it gets a bit worse and they are home for the day I always make up a brew of 'Helen's Cold and Flu Remedy', it works wonders and tastes delicious!  And I make them a chicken noodle soup from homemade chicken stock/broth.  If they do need a day off school they are usually back the next day feeling healthy again.

We have found the regular consumption of bee pollen is really good for immunity, when we take this regularly we seem to never get sick.

Please note I am not a natural therapist, these are just my findings from looking after our kids.

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"This honey so delicious!  It taste just like when I was a kid, rather than the supermarket brands"  Anna Bradford, Rotorua
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