In the Ajara region of Georgia (the country, not the state), a very few hardy beekeepers still practice an ancient, traditional method of making honey. The story reads like a fairy tale. The beekeepers start by making a beehive, hollowing out a linden tree log by hand with an axe. The hollowed logs are taken on a steep trek high into the mountains, then placed even higher up on ledges carved into the sheer, rocky face of cliffs, reachable only by ladder. The inaccessible location has two advantages. One, it keeps the honey safe from bears. And two, the diversity of flora in the forests that blanket the mountainsides gives the bees a smorgasbord of nectars with which to make their honey. Once a year in the spring, the beekeepers hike to the hives and carry back half the honeycombs, leaving the other half for the bees.
This is the white peacock of honeys, exceptionally rare. It’s almost never seen outside of the Jara region. But it’s not just the story that makes it special. Each jar, filled with a deep, dark honey and a small chunk of honeycomb, offers a deep, toasty flavor with all the richness of the Georgian mountainsides.
Savor it on toast, atop soft cheeses, or stirred into tea.