New Zealand Artisan Honey from J Friend and Co

The range of artisan honey on display caught my attention. Small glass jars of honey in teddy bear shades wore the label J Friend and Co. I wondered how these little pots of gold would taste.

J Friend and Co Honey

J Friend and Co are artisan honey makers from New Zealand who create a range of single varietal certified organic honey. Released in small batches and labelled with a vintage, the floral varietal source, the name of the beekeeper and the region it is collected from, this is a honey to be simply enjoyed on its own or as an accompaniment to cheese and desserts.

Beechwood Honeydew
Vintage: May 2009
Beekeeper: Lorraine Muldoon

J Friend and Co Beechwood HoneyJ Friend and Co Beechwood Honey

Beechwood Honeydew honey is dark amber in colour and originates from Mount Thomas in Oxford.  A quick whiff finds it a little strong on the nose which promises a robust flavour. It delivers equally on taste with floral hints and a more earthy note than standard honey.

Unlike most honeys, Beechwood Honeydew is not made from the nectar of flowers but by tiny insects. These organisms feed on the sap in the bark of the beech tree (hence the name) and then excrete the honey in sugary liquid drops.

Wild Thyme Honey
Vintage: December 2008
Beekeeper: Ernest Adamson

J Friend and Co Wild Thyme HoneyJ Friend and Co Wild Thyme Honey

Resembling a pot of caramel, Wild Thyme Honey originates from Waikerikeri Valley in central Otago. It has a thick balm-like consistency, the kind that soothes a throat as it melts in the mouth. Although thyme is not an overpowering note, this honey has the kind of woodsy and herbal aroma that is quite intense and lingers beautifully on the palate. This is what I describe as a sensual taste.

With winter well and truly upon us, Sunday mornings are best for lingering in the warmth of the bed listening to the melody of rain and wind against the odd trembling window. And when hunger inevitably stirs, brunching on artisan honey and toasted crumpets is a satisfying way to enjoy the delights of the cold weather.

As the flavours are intense and lingering, and I would only recommend these be followed by a short black coffee. Avoid milk in the coffee as it overpowers the lingering taste and you would want to prolong the enjoyment.

J Friend and Co Honey

Much like wine, J. Friend and Co provide tasting notes and pair their range of honeys with cheese and desserts. More information can be obtained from their website. J. Friend and Co Artisan Honey is available in Australia from Simon Johnson.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


    • I couldn’t choose either, and in the end decided to go with colour. I’m sure the rest would have been good choices as well!

  • Oh, yum! There is a stall at a local farmer’s market here that sells Artisan Honey and I can’t get enough of the raspberry and cranberry varieties. All of the jars of honey in your photos look amazing – what fantastic flavours! It has never occurred to me to have honey with cheese and wine, but clearly I’m going to have to try it out. 🙂

    • Raspberry honey sounds good! If you get a chance to try truffle honey, drizzle it on blue cheese. It is quite a taste sensation! 🙂

  • amazing! i love all the specificity–i mean, when was the last time you knew the name of your beekeeper?

    personally, i’m still hankering after the leatherwood honey i used to eat in australia.

    • Exactly! The names on the jars add a personal touch and makes you think of the person behind them Very clever marketing for a top product!

  • If you ever get a chance to try some of the native floral honey from NZ …do so. I never came across this brand when I was there at Christmas. But there are soooo many artisanal foods out there you could spend a year discovering it all.

    • I would love that! There is so much to New Zealand’s food that I would enjoy discovering 🙂

  • Awesome! I love the look of both these honey pots. I wonder why kopi luwak is so expensive when we can go for this kind of sweet $hit hehehe. Did the honeydew taste as sweet as honey? Would you have guessed it’s not actual bee honey if you hadn’t been told? I’m really intrigued!

    • Fouad, you crack me up as always! 🙂 It tasted sweet but a refined sweetness, if that makes any sense. Some honey are overly sugary in taste, this has the intensity in the flavours. No, I wouldn’t have guessed it at all. I would have just sung its praises based on taste!

  • nice! I’m looking at their site now and considering ordering the Beechwood Honeydew one because it looks really interesting. of course, shipment to Paris triples the price. 🙁 i’ve been looking at recipes for pepper infused honey for cocktails thanks to some recent tweeting, so now I’m on the search for interesting ones. Love the “teddy bear shades” reference – exactly what they are!