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Yves Ginat’s description of the sound that comes from a healthy hive speaks volumes about his approach to apiary.

“It's a kind of melody,” he has said. "Like the cat, we can feel the colony purring."

A Frenchman who grew up in the castle-studded medieval capital of Bourges, Yves brings a very French sensitivity to his technical bee-keeping operation on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in Tasmania.

Working around 200 hives across the entire state, Yves’ operation ‘Miellerie’ (literally ‘house of honey’) produces honey made from the nectar of some of the rarest wildflowers in the world, like Tasmanian leatherwood, blue gum and button grass.

Yves grew up on a farm with his parents who grew their own vegetables and made their own wine and cider, and went on to study organic farming practices near Lyon.  He began keeping bees as a teenager and gained more experience at Golden Bay on New Zealdn’s South Island before moving to Tasmania in 1998 with his young family.

"I was always interested in the transformation of a product," Yves has said. "Milk to cheese and yoghurt, wheat into bread, bees making honey."

Miellerie was launched in 2005, founded on organic and biodynamic beekeeping practices. Yves extracts his honey at room temperature and packages it at beehive temperature, thereby maintaining the honey’s natural aroma, health qualities, and distinctive crystals. The Miellerie business cycle works in sync with the seasons: honey is harvested from around the state from late October through to mid-March, when the hives are closed and moved to their winter locations on farms around Tasmania.

Endemic to the cold, wet rainforests of Western Tasmania, the ‘Leatherwood’ tree is one of the hardest-to-reach sources of Yves’ honey.  It tastes exactly as a secluded highland rainforest honey should: very strong, ancient, and a little eerie in its deliciousness. 

Yves’ Lake Pedder Honey on the other hand is made from a cocktail of more than 130 wildflowers that grow on the shores of Lake Pedder in remote south western Tasmania.  Drawing on the nectar of banksia, tea tree, button grass, melaleuca, and native peppermint, this sharp, smooth honey is the only Miellerie product not made from a single flower, and is instead naturally blended by the bees themselves.  Yves recommends this in a spiced red wine marinade on beef or venison.

Because Yves extracts his honey straight from the comb, all of the honey’s original qualities are retained, including colour.  This is why the Leatherwood is a pale lemon curd colour, and the Lake Pedder honey a richer, brown-sugar brown. Uniting all of Yves’ honey is a natural purity and strength of flavour that’s like an electric shock to the tastebuds.  This is partly thanks to it being raw, untreated and cold-extracted. But there’s one other secret: timing.    

“The French are very fussy about the timing of collecting the honey,” Yves has said. “It has to be when it has got the pure flavour of the flowers,” Ginat says.


Miellerie’s Leatherwood Honey and Lake Pedder Honey are available now.