Sitting here, tapping away, I’m just hoping that my sticky fingers don’t make this computer any worse than it already is (as if that was possible!). Why are my fingers sticky? Because breakfast this morning consists of scrumptious fresh bread from the Farmers’ Market, and honey so delicious it might be ambrosia. It’s certainly producing what some former work colleagues used to call “a mouth orgasm” (I daren’t google that, but you can imagine). In fact I’m not quite sure how it is I can type and eat at the same time.
My sweet tooth has been a problem for me all my life, but I reserve my right to enjoy honey simply because it’s something natural, even the most commercial ones in the supermarkets seem to have no additives, other than “good” ones like Royal Jelly or Ginseng, and I embrace them all with enthusiasm! This week, however, I think I found the ultimate in honeyed pleasure, and it came from an apiary only about fifteen minutes from my front door.
I’d tasted their honey some months ago at the Fiesta del Vino in El Médano, when, as well as vineyards, local farmers, restaurants and other food producers were displaying their goods, and I took a card with the intention of going the next time my jar ran out. Like lots of good intentions it’s been delayed – how silly was I? – but this week I finally made it.
The address on their card which I’d kept since the feria, was in Aldea Blanca, a small village, distinguished by two locally famous businesses, the Luther King private school, and El Castillo de San Miguel – not a real castle, but a medieval (k)nights spectacular, which is, incidentally, well worth a visit if you are visiting the island en grupo and want to let your hair down a bit. Otherwise, when people aren’t arriving or departing either of these places at the appointed hours, it reverts to its other façade – sleepy little pueblo. So you’d think it would be really easy to find the apiary, wouldn’t you? I remembered the lady on the stall had said near the Luther King School, but of course, in a place so small, everything is “near the Luther King School”! Entering from the main road to San Miguel, there was only one choice, right or left, I chose left, which took me to the school, but it turned out that I should have turned right. A quick phone call to the owner, an about turn, and a half a minute later there he was outside, waiting for us.
We were led through a lovely garden, which broke my heart remembering my last one. Now, I’m not exactly ok with bees, wasps and such, so I was a bit wary, but there was only one bee in sight, inspecting a gangly poinsettia (it’s coming up Christmas and they are all in flower now). At the end of the garden was the “shop” , if that’s the right word, with three, large vats of honey, not unlike wine or beer vats.
Taps were turned,spoons were provided and honey was drizzled from each for us to taste. Right now they have three flavors, depending on what the bees feed on, but as the seasons change so will the flavors, so each visit is going to be a new delight, clearly. They fell easily into three degrees of sweetness, i.e. very sweet, sweet and not-so-sweet! The not-so-sweet I can identify as fennel, and this was one of the two I chose. It turned out that sales were booming on the sweet one, which was current favorite, but I also chose a jar of the seriously sweet one, because there are times when a craving just has to be indulged! This came from the malpica, a type of thistle, which grows only above 1,200 meters, and thrives on the lower slopes of Mount Teide, who would have thought that such a mellow and yummy flavor would start with such a prickly and barren looking plant! Although we were given the name of the plant from which the third one derived flavor, I’m not 100% sure, despite research, as to what it was. The names weren’t familiar (I had to double-check on malpica, and even then it took a while to pin it down). All I can tell you is that, at risk of exaggerating, all of them were just heavenly, and the decision wasn’t easy!
For anyone local who wants to buy (at prices quite comparable with the supermarket prices of ordinary honey – the half liter jar was €5, one liter is €9 and the 250ml is €3 – but for extra ordinary quality), if you arrive from the San Miguel – Las Chafiras road, turn right and then left into Calle Valeria, there is an open space next to the house, which is number 26. If you come from Buzanada turn right, obviously. The family, which hails originally from Ukraine has been there four years. Everything was spotless, and they were very friendly, showing us pictures of the plants in books when we didn’t recognize the names.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to marinate fresh tuna in my favorite honey marinade ;=))