A sweeter Sunday at London's Honey Festival

18 apiaries from across London are supplying local honey to the Festival, shops and restaurants © Mikey Tomkins/Capital Bee

This August has been the month of honey in London, with shops and restaurants encouraged to try and buy a diverse range of honey from the growing number of London beekeepers. And Sunday 21st August sees the London Honey Festival taking place at the Royal Festival Hall.

The event includes a tasting competition with visitors able to try honeys produced across the capital, from Bexley to Battersea, Greenwich to King’s Cross, Ealing to Wimbledon, and the Royal Festival Hall itself. As well as tastings, other highlights include honey massages, educational stalls, events for kids, film shows, a demonstration of honey extraction, and a chance to buy local honey.

Mikey Tomkins, of Capital Bee , who is organising the festival, says, “Amongst the bee‐themed bunting, music, and waggle dance troupe, the event will provide a great opportunity for beekeepers to reach a wider audience, sell honey, and show‐off their urban craft. There’ll be a honey map so people can find their local beekeepers and the chance to see bees in observation hives.”

As well Sunday's event, you can also visit one of the 13 restaurants celebrating links with local beekeepers by putting 'London Honey Specials' on their menus. Half a tonne of urban honey has been made available to the capital’s restaurants by 18 apiaries. Restaurants will be using the honey in a range of ways, from cocktails and flapjacks, to dressings and glazes - see below for a list of participating places.

Emily Crawley of Ethical Eats explains: “This is the first time in the UK that caterers have come together on this scale to celebrate their city’s honey. We hope that many of the relationships established between caterers and beekeepers will continue so Londoners can support urban bees and community hives when they eat out.”

The Honey Festival comes after the London Mayor Boris Johnson launched Capital Bee, an innovative campaign to encourage ‘bee-friendly behaviour in the capital including growing plants that bees like, finding alternatives to garden pesticides, and opting for organic choices where possible.

Taste & Buy London's honey
Honey is a seasonal crop, so stocks tend to run out fast!

Shopping - you can find local London honey at:

  • Budgens in Crouch End
  • The People’s Supermarket in Bloomsbury
  • La Bouche in Broadway Markey
  • Farm:shop in Dalston.

Participating restaurants and their London Honey Specials:

  • Caffe Caldesi (118 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2QF): Oven-baked salmon with pistachio and honey crust. www.caldesi.com/caffe_caldesi/caffe-caldesi-gallery
  • Dishoom’s Southbank Chowpatty Beach Bar (Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX): honey cocktail. www.dishoom.com/southbank-pop-up
  • Drake & Morgan (multiple locations): Skinny honey passion cocktail and Cowboy Fries with London honey infused sauce. Participating restaurants:
  • Eden Caterers (locations across London): Cherry & Walnut flapjack. www.eden-caters.co.uk
  • L'Eau a la Bouche (35-37 Broadway Market London E8 4PH): London honey with breakfasts and in dressings and sauce. www.labouche.co.uk
  • Manson (676 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5SA): London Honey and almond sponge, plum ripple ice cream, and London Honey Ciaprahina cocktail. www.mansonrestaurant.co.uk
  • Roast (The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London SE1 1TL ): "Bare Back Rider" cocktail - Calvados, honey, fresh grapefruit juice, and rosemary-baked custard with figs and honeycomb. www.roast-restaurant.com
  • Skylon (Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX): “Honey Trap” cocktail, with honey vodka, rosewater, ginger liquer, lemon juice and London honey, and honey parfait dessert www.skylon-restaurant.co.uk
  • The Table Café (83 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX): Toasted banana bread with homemade ricotta and honey. www.thetablecafe.com
  • The Three Stags (67/69 Kennington Road, London SE1 7PZ ): rooftop garden salad to start with a honey dressing, Arabic meat marinate of honey and preserved lemons, served with saffron chickpeas, cous cous and honeycomb ice cream or honey cake with almonds. www.thethreestags.org

About the event & organisers
The London Honey Festival is part of the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Festival of Britain on the Southbank this summer, and is supported by the Southbank, the Co-operative and the Mayor’s Office. The event is during the Royal Festival Hall’s Land Weekend, which gives visitors the chance to live the rural idyll in London for a weekend.
More information is available at http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/learning-participation/ticke...

Ethical Eats is a network for restaurants and caterers across the capital interested in sustainability. It is part of Sustain’s London Food Link network – www.ethicaleats.org.

Capital Bee is helping to set up new community beehives and training beekeepers. More information is available at www.capitalgrowth.org/bees.

Capital Bee is part of Capital Growth, a project funded by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund, and run by Sustain’s London Food Link network. It aims to boost community food growing, creating 2,012 new food growing spaces by the end of 2012. There are already over 1,000 plots in a diverse range of places, such as schools, by railways, on housing estates and on roofs.

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