Date Published: 5 Oct, 2022
Manawa Honey NZ has had a category win in the contest for the World’s Best Tasting Honey in 2022. Our Raw Kānuka Honey with its delightful natural creaminess, won the Category for Creamed Honey, building on the success of our Rewarewa Honey in 2021 as the Grand First Prize Winner to become the Best Tasting Honey in the World!
We are humbled by these awards won internationally but keen to share out story in this article with you:
Our customers often tell us that our honey is the best ever. And we know that the honey we produce is top quality because we carefully manage all that’s involved in its production – from where we place our apiaries to how we present our honey in the jar.
But we value the assurance on quality that comes from the independent and expert assessments undertaken as part of contests and awards held for honey across the world.
In the past, we have been a bit reluctant to put hard promotion behind our honey because our old people say: “Kāre te kūmara e kōrero mō tana reka (A sweet potato doesn’t boast about how sweet it is)!” But we know that to be successful in our endeavour with Manawa Honey NZ, we must let the world know about just how good our honey is.
After our success in winning awards in 2021, we decided to enter just a selection of our products into awards and contests for honey in 2022, to see just how these honeys would stand up on the world stage.
The World’s Best Tasting Honey is determined through the Black Jar International Honey Contest held annually in Asheville, North Carolina, USA. The contest is run by the Center for Honeybee Research, which is dedicated to ‘grassroots’ education and research to ensure the survival of the honey bee caused by factors such as pollution, loss of habitat and diseases.
The contest has been running for 11 years as of 2022, and attracts entries from beekeepers from across the globe. Although the exact number of entries each year is not public information, we have been able to determine that the number of entries was over 600 in 2021 and about 900 or more in 2022. So the contest is growing strongly in it coverage and volume as an international honey contest.
This contest is renowned for the way in which the honey tasting and judging takes place. The Center for Honey Bee Research explains the method and their rationale for it in this way:
“In other honey contests, “perfection” is key to judging. Honey is judged on moisture content, clarity, foam and particles, with points being deducted for each defect found. The Black Jar is set up to rely solely on the taste of each entry. The honey that makes it to the finals is covered in black fabric so the judges cannot see the visual characteristics or what’s in the honey. We choose this form of judging because we respect the unique flavors that bees bring back to the hive as they visit different flowers, and understand the varieties and flavors that will be found all over the world.”
The contest is truly international as you can see from scanning the Winners’ Board for 2022. Although the contest was dominated by entries from the United States in its earlier years, well over 50% of the entries come from outside of North America.
In 2021, our Chief Beekeeper Taawi Te Kurapa was the Grand First Prize Winner of the 11th Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest with our Rewarewa Honey, gaining the mantle of the Best Tasting Honey in the World. Our Tāwari Honey and Pua-ā-Tāne Wild Forest Honey were also finalists in that contest. We tell the full story of how we entered this contest, all about the contest and the results achieved in our article World’s Best Tasting Honey.
We went back again to this contest for the World’s Best Tasting Honey in 2022 – the 11th Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest. We carefully selected just a few of honeys as entries and we were again humbled when we were notified earlier this year that we were amongst the winners.
This time, our new Raw Kānuka Honey surprised us when, with its natural creaminess, it won the Creamed Category for the contest, putting it into the Top 10 of the World’s Best Tasting Honey. We’re thrilled with this success for this new honey which is an exciting addition to our range of Honeys of Te Urewera.
Kānuka Honey comes from the flower of Kānuka tree (Kunzea ericoides) which is closely related to the world-famed Mānuka. Kānuka is indigenous to New Zealand and is plentiful in Te Urewera, our forest homeland in the heart of the North Island of New Zealand, where Manawa Honey NZ is based.
Kānuka Honey comes with a crisp, aromatic taste with butterscotch notes. Kānuka Honey gives a silky depth of flavour to whatever it accompanies, so goes well in drinks and smoothies, on the cheese or charcuterie board, or in all kinds of cuisine.
Our Kānuka Honey is presented raw, which means not filtered, not heat-treated, and not pasteurised. This careful production process for our Kānuka Honey preserves all its properties and its delightful buttery taste, which clearly was a winner for the judges in the World’s Best Tasting Honey Contest in 2022!
We all find that Kānuka Honey is much more pleasant on the palate than its world-famed cousin, Mānuka Honey.
Yet, Kānuka has a range of powerful healing and health-giving properties, in line with Mānuka. Research finds that Kānuka Honey has high levels of hydrogen peroxide that give it antibiotic properties, so it is a natural way to treat burns, cuts, bruises and grazes.
Kānuka Honey also contains high levels of an anti-ageing compound call arabinogalactans (AGP) which gives it powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to be an effective treatment for skin conditions such as rosacea, cold sores, acne and eczema.
Research continues into the properties of Kānuka Honey, and we will be hearing much more about this in the future.
This win for our Raw Kānuka Honey in the World’s Best Tasting Honey Contest is a great platform to launch it out there on the world stage. It also enhances our reputation as producer of premium honeys.
We now have successive wins with different honeys from our range over the two years of 2021-22 in this contest. Only a few beekeepers achieve this sort of consistency over time in this contest, such is the competition and the challenging rigour of the judging process.
But we will be back with new honeys and maybe some of our current range in 2023 to enter the contest for the World’s Best Tasting Honey, so we ask you to continue to watch this space.
|Brenda Tahi draws on a range of areas in her diverse experience for her writing. She has an MBA in Strategic Management from Henley College (UK) and has had careers in public sector management and governance in New Zealand. Brenda has published research in topics ranging from public sector management policy to Māori history and traditional knowledge. Brenda is a trustee for the Tuawhenua Trust of Ruatāhuna, and, drawing on beekeeping as her hobby, she was part of founding Manawa Honey NZ, of which she is now CEO.|