The Honey Farm at Chudleigh
If you're searching for a land of milk and honey in the literal sense, a small business in northern Tasmania may appeal to your taste buds. It has fifty types of Tasmanian honey with free tastings, and milk in the form of gourmet quality ice cream. In a word - delicious.
It is known simply as The Honey Farm, and occupies a small shop on the main street of Chudleigh. This is a tiny village half way between Deloraine and Mole Creek, in what I think is one of the the most attractive rural areas in Tasmania.
On entering the place, you're confronted with a dazzling range of honeys and honey-related products, not to mention an alluring ice cream counter competing for attention. Probably the best place to start is with the tastings; for me they were the main attraction.
Each of the two main rooms feature well laid out sampling stations, where most of the 50 or more varieties of honey can be tasted without obligation. Each has a description of its origin, the plant or flower responsible for making it distinct, and in some cases its medicinal properties.
There are also tasting notes, similar to what you might expect when tasting wines or beers. I usually have trouble noticing much difference between wines of similar type, but at the Honey Farm I was surprised at how distinctively different most of the honeys are. Tasmania is known among keen honey eaters for its Leatherwood honey, but there are so many more excellent varieties on offer which are rarely seen or heard about outside Tasmania. Between my two visits I have probably tasted the majority of the Honey Farm's 50 varieties, and even my unskilled palate could find differences between most of them. All were delicious.
The owners have done a good job of making the place interesting and educational too - it's as much a museum as a shop. Static and audio-visual displays tell all about bees and honey in Tasmania, and there's even a live glass-enclosed beehive to look at. While there, I noticed children keeping themselves amused while parents were occupied with tastings.
As you would expect, all the honeys (and numerous related products) can be purchased. They can also be posted home to anywhere that customs regulations allow, which seemed like a wonderful thing to do. Then I noticed the fine print - honey can be posted to anywhere in Australia, except Western Australia, which is where I was about to return to. If you're from overseas, it would be worth checking beforehand what foods you can send or bring home ... in case you are tempted.
To console myself for not being able to take honey home, I treated myself to a truly delightful ice cream cone. There were many flavours to choose from, including various honeys - I forget what I had, but the ice cream alone would be worth stopping here for.
For me, one of the joys of traveling is sampling good quality local foods which are different from what I normally eat at home. For anyone who enjoys honey, Tasmania has some fantastic varieties on offer, and the Honey Farm at Chudleigh has the biggest range you'll find in one place anywhere. It's on my list for my next Tasmanian holiday, preferably early in the trip so I can buy some to enjoy on the rest of the journey.
Note - at the time of writing, it is closed on Saturdays but open 9-5 all other days. As with any place you are planning to visit, it is wise to check current opening hours on the website, or a local visitors centre.
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