As part of Eat Drink Blog this year, we had a choice of three different activities for the Sunday. Whilst food styling and beer appreciation both sounded enticing, I went straight for the rooftop beehive tour run by Bee One Third, at their first location on the rooftop of Gerard’s Bistro in Fortitude Valley. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but dressing up in bee protection gear was not it!
We were led up the ladder to the rooftop by apiarist Jack, who explained Bee One Third’s goal of bringing European honey bees into urban and suburban Brisbane via local business’s rooftops, encouraging pollination and creating artisan honey products, and educating the public about the importance of bees. ‘Bee One Third’ refers to the fact that bees pollinate over one third of the global food supply, so are incredibly important in producing food.
Before clambering up we donned loose smocks with a mesh screened hood to protect ourselves from the bees, who were made calm and sleepy with a special smoke. I’ve been told that keeping calm is the best way to not get stung, although I’ll admit that with bees buzzing around my (protected) face it took some self-control to not give in to the urge to panic slap them away. Jack didn’t bother with such precautions – he’s been stung so many times that it doesn’t seem to bother him anymore.
He lifted out the trays for us to see the honeycomb and the darker hatching trays, although we didn’t see the elusive queen.
Afterwards we were treated to a morning tea by Gerard’s Bistro, featuring honey and other bee ingredients produced by Bee One Third. Honey friands with honey cream and honey jellies, a spreadable soppressata with honeycomb, iced tea and tastings of various honeys (including one from the hives we just visited!), bee pollen and fresh honeycomb. I’m not ashamed to say that I hung around and probably ate more than my fair share of friands with cream, and tasted every one of the honeys. I didn’t end up taking a peek inside Gerard’s or checking out their standard menu, but I’ll certainly be heading over there if I’m ever in Brisbane again.