Honey tasting the new buzzword at Pabala

The samples of honey at the gin and honey tasting at the Pabala Private Nature Reserve, just outside Hankey
POTS OF GOLD: The samples of honey at the gin and honey tasting at the Pabala Private Nature Reserve, just outside Hankey

Gin and honey seem like an unlikely pairing, but it turned out to be a sweet combination when we visited the Pabala Game Reserve for a gin and honey tasting.

Pabala sales and marketing head Heidi Halgryn took us through our paces during the tasting and told the story of how it all began at the game reserve. 

“Pabala Private Nature Reserve owner Wernich Cronje realised there were limited food resources for the wildlife and game on the reserve, and he then realised that there was little or no pollination happening to increase any flora,” she said.

“He contacted an old friend in the Free State, Piet Bezuidenhout, who built his life around bee farming, and made him an offer to retire at the beach and still do what he loves — beekeeping.

“Piet Bezuidenhout accepted the offer, moved to the coast and started building beehives that were sustainable.  

“We  have only 200 hives and want to increase this to 600 in the next two years; however, the water scarcity does make a huge impact on its growth,” Halgryn said.

Gin tasting has been a buzzword for quite a while and is a trend that is still going strong, so I was intrigued by the honey aspect.

“Honey varies in colour and taste,” Halgryn said.

“Pure raw honey is scarce, and education around honey and bees even more so.

“That is why Pabala decided to provide honey tasting and bee education for young and old.

“The taste of honey even differs between seasons, areas and provinces.

“So does the colour, as it all depends on the nectar, water and flowers available in the area around the beehive.

“Gin coupled with honey is something new and funky.

“We have found that this is something that has taken off positively when hosting conferences and strategy planning sessions coupled with team-building — we include both honey and gin tasting as part of their activities.

“The one is healthy, the other a fun element,” she said.

The Pabala team does not only have agritourism in mind with its tastings, but is committed to making a difference in the Gamtoos community, both socioeconomically and economically, by creating sustainable jobs in bee farming.

“The plan is to commence with rural local development to teach and develop potential bee farmers.

“Bee farming and honey can be a sustainable income for them.

“It includes education on how to build beehives, extract honey, bottling and marketing their product for profits.

“This project we endeavour to begin in the next two to three years,” Halgryn said.

To book a honey and gin tasting, book online at www.pabalaprivatenaturereserve.co.za, e-mail heidi@pabala.co.za or send a WhatsApp to 064-751-3219.



Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.