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A couple days ago, Selma and I were shopping along Main Street. We picked out an awesome grey jacket for her at Front and Co. We passed by this Honey Shoppe, while looking around. I admit we did not enter as we passed, but it caught our eye. If anyone recalls my time in Germany, I traveled there with Selma. She has a European palate for things: honey, cheese, various spreads, yogurt, and others. Infact, one spreadable cheese we ate for breakfast while backpacking was a honey soft cheese. Selma explained to me that she’ll have a tiny bit of honey per morning, as it’s something her family and culture does.
When Gastrofork was invited to taste and try honey during an event they held, I thought it’d be perfect to bring Selma.
Honeybee Centre is a commercial honey farm, country store, CFIA approved honey packing facility, and visitor attraction, located in the agricultural centre of Surrey, British Columbia. As a spin-off of Honeybee Centre, the Main Street Honey Shoppe brings Honeybee Centre’s farm fresh honey, apitherapy products, and honeybee advocacy to Vancouver’s Main Street neighbourhood.
One hostess of ours mentioned she was thrilled people had bees in their own keep in Vancouver, and seemed to be interested in the local bee-keeping culture. She said she did have a few people come in and exchange ideas about small scale operations.
Besides all the honey you see here, the Main Street Honey Shoppe stocks its shelves with pretty canisters of Teafarm Tea, a Cowichan Valley company striving to grow it’s very own organic tea right here in British Columbia. Their custom blends of herbal, black, and green teas (all certified organic) all really tickled my fancy as a tea drinker. I got attracted to the section of beeswax candles, mainly one of a little duck. To the left, was their shelf of tea. I’ll have to come back and grab some once my current tea stock is depleted, as they smelled wonderful and offered a variety of flavours. I also noticed all-natural health products being sold as well. Selma and I enjoyed their honey lotion, as the smell wasn’t too overpowering like vanilla can be and was subtly sweet.
We were immediately overwhelmed by the amount of honey! To be honest, I had no idea honey had different flavours. Honey bear honey has been my thing. Selma browsed around, piqued by the variety. I’d think Pooh Bear would totally ramsack this store.
Since opening in the late spring, the Main Street Honey Shoppe has been delighting local foodies with their wide selection of farm fresh honey in the heart of the city. From sources like blueberry flowers (with a rich brown sugar taste) to buckwheat (pungent and earthy) to the limited-edition fireweed plant (buttery and sweet, and also one of my FAVORITES!) there’s a whole world of locally farmed honey outside of the grocery store – and something to suit every taste, almost like a wine culture. We were talking about this too – why can’t it be wine, cheese and honey? It pairs so well!
The atmosphere of the shoppe was very home-like and we felt like it was a home-grown event. As if someone invited you over to dinner just in their home and the feeling was generally pleasant.
They served us such lovely dishes! We were served this lovely cake, Selma and I will attempt to make this. My favorite was the orange blossom honey dark chocolate ganache:
I was also very fond of the their wildflower honey oatmeal cookies. They also had honey drizzled cheesecake and a cheese plate.
It was interesting trying the Bee Pollen. It contains all the natural nutrients required by humans, and is 40% protein. By itself, it has this strange, dull, grassy flavour. Today at work, I was chattng with a coworker who makes a lot of protein shakes. He drinks them because he’s too busy to eat normally, but still wants to eat healthily. I recommended the bee pollen, as one of our hosts said this could be mixed in other concoctions.
We also got a taste of Royal Jelly, the food the queen bee eats. It is rich in amino acids and B-complex vitamins. It’s been attributed to anti-aging, and also a nutrient rich addition to one’s diet. We were told the story of the queen bee. When she gets old or weak, the worker bees feed a female egg with royal jelly and she emerges to fight the old queen for the title. The worker bees will feed several eggs, so it becomes a battle of the survival of the fittest. In my mind, I imagine Linsey Lohan beating up a grandma, only to be shot down by Jennifer Lawrence… Wait, what.
I also got to try Honey Comb. It cuts up like butter and actually pairs really well with a cheese and cracker!
Tony, the Chief Honey Officer, let Selma and I try some European honeys. I ended up taking home Airborne Birch Forest Honeydew Honey from New Zealand. It’s $20 a pop but it has this thick, robust taste that isn’t too sweet. It is a fairly dark honey. Selma was explaining to me in the morning she’ll eat a lighter honey, so she was more interested in the Orange Blossom Honey. She’d have a darker one for later on in the day, but was still deciding on which after Tony was very kind to let us try several, including Lavender Honey, etc — he also made us a lovely honey hot chocolate. There’s a bit of a back story on this.
Cadeaux Bakery creates the wonderful baked goods offered here. Republica and Teafarm provide the warm beverages the store offers. Besides offering coffee and tea, the store tried to think of a way to appeal to the children that would come into the shop. That’s how they came up with the idea of Honey Hot Chocolate. If I’m not mistaken, they give out honey sticks to kids as well. So much sugar to be had! If I was a child, this store would be gold.
I got to try mead! Call me a dork… but I got to drink on something previously only known to me in medieval video games. (Skyrim anyone?) To be honest, it surprised me how sweet and somewhat syrupy it was – at least the red mead. The common one – the white mead – was one I could drink a few of, because it had a light, sweet liquor taste.
The Main Street Honey Shoppe is the latest project form Honeybee Centre, a commercial honey farm, tourist destination, and gift shop located in Surrey, B.C. The company is thrilled to be part of such a vibrant neighbourhood and community. For more details about The Main Street Honey Shoppe and Honeybee Centre, please visit mainstreethoney.com.