Happy news and a honey tasting

Yesterday I came home to find a letter waiting. It had a nice surprise – I passed Module 2, which means I now have the BBKA’s Intermediate Theory Certificate. Please forgive me for posting about this, but I have so little going for me to show off about that I take every opportunity I get!

Module 2 exam results

Of course, I’ve forgotten most of what I learnt already. I have the kind of brain which is good at cramming things in for the short-term, but bad at remembering things long-term. For instance, there are very few books or films I can recall the plot for and indeed sometimes I can pick up a book and not be sure whether I’ve read it or not.

Module 2 paper 2014

Above is part of the exam paper. I did Q11, 13, 14, 15 and 16. You can see how lucky I was with the questions, I got away with writing lots about pollination and honey composition and not much about the tricky subject of extracting honey and preparing it for sale.

The Ealing Association committee asked me if I would do a talk at one of our regular beekeepers meetings, so I decided to do one about pollination and honey, with some honey tasting afterwards. I was very happy that lots of people brought honey along, especially our Chairman Clare Vernon. We must have had about thirty different honeys to try.

Emma took some lovely photos which show off the warm and glowing colours we had in front of us. She has kindly let me post them here – all of the photos below were taken by Emma. You can find her blog at http://missapismellifera.com.

The ‘Hunang’ honey is very special honey from Iceland. You can read about how it came to London in Emma’s blog post ‘Beekeeping in Iceland‘. I have been slow in eating it because I respect the effort the bees made in producing it in such cold, windy conditions, so want to savour it gradually.

Icelandic and Welsh honey

Icelandic and Welsh honey

I made some little honey cakes for us to eat. Elsa brought along lemon drizzle cake, plus we had breadsticks and baklava. Quite the meeting of hungry bears.

Honey and cakes

PollenThere was much debate going on about the best honeys.

Elsa, Betty and Sara

Elsa, Betty and Sara

Here are Hanwell beekeepers Pat and Jackie.

Jackie and Pat

At the end we all had a vote on our favourite. I was surprised at how different our tastes all were, some people loved a dark, strong honey which I didn’t like at all. And a gloopy honey from Texas really divided people too. However, some clear winners did emerge:

  1. Alan and Betty Gibb’s honey – full of deep floral flavours
  2. Kew Gardens honey
  3. Ivy honey – this was honey I bought from Stephen’s blog ‘In a Beekeepers Garden’, see his post ‘Late ivy honey harvest‘. It had a pale colour and firm texture, causing a lot of disagreement over whether it had been creamed or not.

Even though we had honeys from all over the world – including Turkey, Italy, Borneo, the U.S., Iceland, Germany – we picked three British honeys as our favourites! Are British honeys best?!

Betty and Alan with their winning honey

Betty and Alan with their winning honey

The honey tasting was definitely worth doing as at the end Alan and Betty gave me their jar of winning honey. Thank you!

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
This entry was posted in Exams, Honey and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Happy news and a honey tasting

  1. daveloveless says:

    Congratulations!!! I wish they had these educational programs over here. Most beekeeping in the states seems to be mentor-based (which is great), but sometimes that also means that poor behaviors get passed down.


    • Emily Scott says:

      We are lucky to have so many courses and exams available to take here. I’m doing a wax workshop next Saturday and a microscopy course in February. There is a lot of mentor-based teaching here too though, it’s all down to the individual and how they like to learn.


  2. Bill Fitzmaurice says:

    I wish we still had the old Middx Forager magazine so that we all knew what the other Middx Associations were doing. This event sounds great – I’d love to have gone!

    And well done on the modules, Emily!!


  3. thebigbuzz says:

    Huge congrats on passing your exam and gaining your BBKA’s Intermediate Theory Certificate, Emily. Lucky bees to have you looking after them!


  4. Congratulations! Well done!


  5. disperser says:

    Brag away, and quit saying things like “I have so little going for me to show off about”. For one, it makes husbands kind of nervous, and two, stuff that is repeated eventually gets believed.

    The food looks great, and it’s nice to see people having fun doing something they are passionate about.


    • Emily Scott says:

      I have Drew to show off about, which makes up for it. I just meant that I don’t have any conventional talents such as singing, acting, dancing, being sporty etc.

      We did have fun munching away!


  6. Julie says:

    Congratulations! The honey tasting looked like a great time! I think you and I are similar when it comes to studying, your description totally sounds like my brain 🙂


  7. Jonathan Harding says:

    Well done on the exams.
    My personal favourite honey is English Lime (Tilia) in the comb, but alas some years there is very little nectar flow.
    Just.occasionally in my garden the air is thick with perfume and you can still hear the bees humming the flowers into the twilight to gather and encapsulate this liquid gold.
    .Then during winter teatimes the fragile hexagons can explode in your mouth and transport you back to the taste and scent of a balmy summer evening!!
    I looked in one of my hives today and there appeared to be new young bees. It is a very odd year., We have primroses wallflowers azaleas camellias and snowdrops all flowering and the first crocus and daffodil buds colouring up. My mimosa tree is showing yellow. Yet the Arctic blasts threaten next week..


    • Emily Scott says:

      What a beautiful description of the lime honey Jonathan – “the fragile hexagons can explode in your mouth” – very poetic. Spring does seem to be progressing fast, but I’m sure winter will want to leave us with some parting shots to remember it by.


  8. Congratulations on exams and honey tasting, and still bees to come! What a year already 🙂


  9. Congratulations on the exam! Your description of the honey tasting was lovely, it made me wish I could I have been there.


  10. Mike Lax says:

    Hi Emily,
    So which module are you taking next ? You may find these short courses useful in preparing for the exams: http://www.national-diploma-bees.org.uk/short_courses.htm
    If you are considering General Husbandry as well then drop me a line for some tips. Regards, Mike


    • Emily Scott says:

      Hi Mike, thanks very much for the link. The course fee is very reasonable, but I’m not sure I want to give up the holiday time from work to go, plus the accommodation and travel costs to consider. It is just a hobby for me.

      Regarding the General Husbandry, I don’t think I have the right facilities to be able to pass. I don’t have an apiary all to myself, our hives are in a shared association apiary. I’d also need to show my honey extracting equipment and a room where the extracting takes place – tricky when there’s no room in my flat to do that. Emma’s dad has kindly let us use his kitchen before.

      I get the impression that the General Husbandry exam is aimed at someone with a nice house and garden all to themselves, rather than someone living in a poky London flat!


  11. hencorner says:

    Congratulations Emily!
    And thanks again for a great talk & tasting last weekend…

    Sara x


  12. Eddy Winko says:

    Congratulations on passing, I think you should also get an award for best pictures of honey in a jar award. I now that I’ll be having on my toast tomorrow morning now 🙂


  13. Congratulation! You deserve a special mark for having shared your study so generously. The different tastes of honey are so interesting. I wanted to taste rape seed honey as it looked too pale and I was sure I would not like it. I found it surprisingly good and its creamy texture is great on warm toast! Amelia


  14. Grower says:

    Brava! Nice work on getting that cretificate. The honey tasting and additional treats look tasty. What a sweet time!


  15. Paul says:

    I always feel both inspired and guilty when I read your exam posts. Inspired to start and guilty I haven’t … maybe this year.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great work! Never doubted for a second that you would ace it.


  17. Well done! If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
    I’m glad to see that in honey tasting it’s not like wine tasting, where you have to spit it out – too good to waste!
    All the best 🙂


  18. Pingback: A Sweet Start | Hen Corner

  19. P&B says:



  20. karcuri13 says:

    Texas is finally getting a Master Beekeeper Program run by Texas A&M. Maybe when you are done with all the English exams, you can tackle the Texas one next 🙂 Congrats!


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