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I have a new love in my life…

He is gorgeously brown. He is beautifully smooth. He is wickedly, winkingly shiny. He smells amazingly good. And he is oh-so-sweeeeeeet!

He’s a friendly fella, this one. ‘Cos he can jive with almost anyone, and proves to be one helluva partner. He has the uncanny ability of bringing out the best in each and every one. He adds happiness to your heart, making it beat strong and sturdy. He puts a natural blush to your skin, making you glow. He’s a constant companion, right by your side, fighting your terrible ‘flu and picking you up when you are under the weather. And… if your mirror tells you you’re looking fat, he gently guides you towards losing those extra few pounds. He cares, he really and truly does.

Man of your dreams, huh? Who would NOT love someone like that? But the irony is that we all have him, but don’t really know his real value. And it’s only now that I am realising, slowly and surely, exactly how important he is.

Had enough of the suspense? Ok, so here goes…. It’s HONEY!

Who can resist that sight? It's liquid love :)

Who can resist that sight? It’s liquid love 🙂

Yes, honey, the sweet, gooey stuff that bees make. It’s extraordinary how these little stingy, buzzy things work tirelessly to hop from one flower to another, sucking nectar and filling their tummies, bit by bit, never letting up, just on and on and on… What amazing motivation! And if that’s not enough to impress you, here’s one more… honey is basically bee puke! These guys swallow, digest and regurgitate those little bits of nectar that they have collected and throw up honey! So next time you have your head down the toilet bowl throwing up after a night of binge-drinking, give this a thought! In fact, don’t just give it a thought, go for a spoonful of honey in warm water, and you might just live through the day 🙂

That’s when you reach for a glass of warm water with honey…

My first memory of honey is quite the story. What started as a small hive in the corner of our house in the beginning of spring, grew into an enormous, globe-like, angry-looking hive by the time summer set in. It was summer holidays, we kids along with visiting cousins were running around the house all the time, plucking the bright pink flowers from the spectacularly blossoming Bougainvillea right next to the hive. The parents were debating whether to take down the hive, when one angry little bugger came and stung me real hard… I was of course howling in pain, and that made up the parents minds. But they were so not ready for what followed… All the cousins, 3 girls and a boy all under 10 years of age, started bawling their eyes out, saying they did not want the poor, hard-working bees to be harmed in any way! I too joined the cacophony… the irony was that at one point I didn’t know whether I was wailing in pain from the sting, or in protest for what was to follow. But the parents had their way, and they cleverly bribed us with the delicious, natural honey extracted from the hive, rolled up in hot parathas. That shut us up nicely!

'If you move real slow and smooth, and have real love for the bees in your heart, you need no protection', says the beekeeper...

If you move real slow and smooth, and have real love for the bees in your heart, you need no protection, says the beekeeper…

Of late, I can’t seem to have enough of honey. Like everyone else in the country, my first option was always the fat, trusted jar of golden Dabur Honey. It’s not bad, mind you, no honey is. But, to break the monotony of years of use, I tried out the tastes of other brands like Smuckers, Heinz, Capilano, Langnese, Clarks and so on. And then I learnt that most commercial store-bought honey is not even real honey! That sent me off into a tizzy – much like the bees themselves! – to find a good natural honey, and the right one for myself. After many delicious tastings, I have now settled on THREE top favourites, and as far as I am concerned, the best that money can buy.

The first is the range of pure, single-origin honeys by ‘Under the Mango Tree’, a honey co-operative that sources directly from rural beekepers – you can smell the tall woods of the Himalayas when you open a jar of this, I kid you not!

Organic, single-origin honeys from Under The Mango Tree, conceived by Vijaya Pastala

Then there is the world-famous Manuka honey from New Zealand, known for it’s dense, dark texture, and intense, earthy flavours.

Manuka, the world-renowned honey from New Zealand

Manuka, the world-renowned honey from New Zealand

And the last one is Nectar Fresh – a humble, honest endeavour based off Bangalore, who have big small and tiny jars of interesting flavoured honey like ajwain, lychee and mustard.

Nectar Fresh a small entrepreneurial venture from Coorg started by Chhaya Nanjappa, now going places…

It's dizzying to watch the the bees hard at work, and the hive fast filling with honey...

It’s dizzying to watch the the bees hard at work, and the hive fast filling with honey…

So go do yourselves a favour – find the honey that you love. I promise you it will be a fascinating and rewarding journey. And when you have found the right one, with the perfect goodness, richness, and flavours that make you sing, you will have found the ‘man of your dreams’… And that would give an entirely different meaning to the phrase ‘Honey, I’m home!’ 🙂