IT’S A STICKY QUESTION…..WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 6 ½ TONS OF HONEY?
Vancouver, BC., September 25, 2012
Urban apiaries, abuzz with activity, have produced sweet crops that weigh in at over 13,000 pounds at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in the Pacific Northwest
In Vancouver, The Fairmont Waterfront’s rooftop apiary, overlooking the scenic Burrard Inlet, is home to a half million honeybees during the summer. The hotel’s honey harvest, which took place in September, produced 700 pounds, with an additional 4,000 pounds from off-site hives. Resident beekeeper and executive sous chef Mark Wadsworth (who used a hotel pillow case to rescue a swarm of bees from a neighbouring tree and took them “home”) worked alongside John Gibeau, president of the Honeybee Centre (www.honeybeecentre.com), past president of British Columbia Honey Producers, and lifelong beekeeper. After gently smoking the hives to calm the bees, the frames are removed and lightly brushed, and the honey is extracted. The tasty results are available at the honey-themed Afternoon “Hive” Tea with local artisanal cheeses paired with honey-infused accompaniments, honey almond cakes, garden thyme lemon lollipops, bannock bread scones, and sweets prepared with herbs and honey from the garden. The harvest also inspired the hotel’s Bees Knees - honey truffles in milk or dark chocolate with flavour notes of butterscotch, vanilla and cinnamon that were created with British Columbia’s legendary chocolatier, Rogers’ Chocolate.
Across town at one of the world’s busiest airports, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is home to approximately a million honeybees that reside on Vancouver International Airport’s land at McDonald Beach Park. The area’s vast array of indigenous plants, trees and flowers provide the bees with an ever changing menu that produces a mélange of sweet and spicy notes with a hint of cinnamon and apple. This “nectar of the gods” can be sampled in a variety of cocktails and dishes in the hotel’s lounge and restaurant with favourites like the rum-based Honey Harvest cocktail, Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Honey Cheesecake, or the Cranberry Pear Cobbler served with house-made Honey Ice Cream. The honey can also be purchased at the hotel, Discovery BC, and the Euro Café located in the airport’s domestic terminal.
Ask The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC what do to with a ton – or two - of honey and they have a ready answer. After all, they recently collected over 3,000 pounds of honey from the happy hives and it’s only the second year. Craft a wheat and honey beer with Hoyne’s Hefe, serve it with scones at Afternoon Tea, create a honey vinaigrette, honey and thyme jus, pastry truffles, homemade peanut butter, desserts, sauces and lip balm…. and use it on popcorn. “We are now exploring possibilities to incorporate the honey into some of our treatments in Willow Stream Spa,” explains Angela Rafuse-Tahir, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “We discovered through our research that honey is an anti-aging skin care product and is the only natural product that never goes bad. It was used centuries ago by beauties like Cleopatra and found in the tombs of ancient Egypt.”
In Seattle, Washington, The Fairmont Olympic has also just celebrated their second season of beekeeping and is getting a buzz from the honey ale produced from their rooftop hives. In partnership with Master Brew maker Dean Mochizuki at the Pike Brewing Company, Yvon Lambert, the hotel’s food and beverage director formulated a saison-style ale that is infused with three pounds of honey per keg. Served exclusively on tap at Shuckers—it’s an ideal accompaniment to seafood. Honey nuts should make a beeline for the hotel’s AAA Four-Star restaurant, The Georgian for the popular breakfast granola parfait, and honey glazed salmon.
Here is how the busy bees added up in the region for 2012:
The Fairmont Empress – 3,000 pounds
The Fairmont Olympic – 400 pounds
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport – 5,000 pounds
The Fairmont Waterfront – 4,700 pounds.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has been committed to protecting the environment for over 20 years, and is always brainstorming ways to enhance the eco-focused Green Partnership Program. With growing concerns about Colony Collapse Disorder in North American honeybees, there was an opportunity to help by placing hives on some hotel’s rooftop gardens. This helps the local environment by providing bees to pollinate area gardens and parks, and by harvesting the honey chefs can offer delicious, local and sustainable honey for use in onsite bars and restaurants. Proving to be a success, the program has now extended to include hives at Fairmont Hotels in Kenya and China.
Guests can make a beeline to Fairmont Hotels in the Pacific Northwest and celebrate the Honey Harvest with a sweet deal of an offer: book and pay for accommodation prior to October 31, 2012 and receive a 20% discount off the room rate and dining, and a sweet treat on arrival. Hotels include The Fairmont Olympic in Seattle, The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, and in Vancouver, The Fairmont Waterfront, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Fairmont Pacific Rim. For reservations, call 1-888-830-1144.