Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh honey, honey

Today I finally achieved one of my goals for the first month living in Russia. I went to the Honey Festival.

The entrance to the All-Russia Honey Expo (The sign, "Yarmarka Myoda" means honey market)

Our friend Dima from Belarus (who we met last week at the Run Moscow 5k) came to Mytishi this morning to pick Rhea, Polly (an intern in Rhea's training from Virginia) and I up. It was AMAZING being in a car for the first time in a month; not having to take both the bus and the metro was wonderful and really saved us time and money. Spasiba bolshoi, Dima! We whizzed down the highway and around the three different rings that encircle Moscow until we got to Tsaritsyno, a park in southern Moscow that dates back to the 16th century. This is where the Honey Festival has been taking place, since it opened on September 3rd. Today was the last day of the festival, and it was absolutely packed with eager people!

A honey stand from Sochi, where the 2014 Olympics will be held- this is where I bought a jar of honey, made from apple trees and cherry blossoms

Honey is a big deal here in Russia, and people take it very seriously. Vendors from all over Russia and the former USSR sell their artisanal honeys, and each stall must pass a careful inspection to ensure that no honey is mislabeled or made from sub-par ingredients. The former (as of September 28, when President Medvedev dismissed him as a result of his vacationing during the wildfires and smog crisis) mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, keeps bees himself, although this fact has been somewhat controversial lately...let's just say Luzhkov has not been very popular lately, and his little bee-keeping hobby was derided in the press as just one more thing that kept him from doing his job.

Anyways, honey is a very serious thing here, obviously, and the Honey Festival certainly illustrated that today. There were so many vendors, and so much information! much taste-testing! Despite all the honey we tasted though, I don't think any of us tired of it. In fact, I just had a slice of bread smeared with a generous helping of delicious honey from Sochi! good! I love honey, and it was amazing to see all the different variants of it, especially when I'm so used to the generic "Billy Bee" honey in Canada.

Rhea, Polly and I testing some of the honey

A fermented honey drink, called "myedovooka"

Damskaya and moozhskaya: loosely translated, "Women's juice" and "Men's juice"... a honey drink, but still very oddly named...we avoided it

An "artsy" photo I tried to take

They sell honey in bear-shaped containers here too!! :) So cute!

Pondering what kind of honey to taste next

Decisions, decisions!

Ladling the slow, golden honey I chose into the container

Rhea and I also bought some honey that the vendor called "magical" - supposedly, it has some special natural, organic ingredient that is nature's most powerful antibiotic...Dima typed the Russian word into his translator on his mobile and in English it came out as "glue." Hmm. So we weren't too sure about that. But it definitely tasted good, and I do believe that honey is great to spoon into some tea when you're feeling sick, so I'm willing to give this a shot. The only thing that kind of worried me was the vendor telling Dima that we shouldn't ingest more than one teaspoon of the honey a day, or else we might have some kind of reaction to it that would make our ears turn least, I think that's what he said...

If you see some new pictures of me with red ears on this blog, you'll know I've been eating too much of this honey!

Tomorrow I'll continue writing about the rest of our day out in Moscow, after we left the honey festival! Till then, its time for me to have some sweet (literally, after all that honey!) dreams! Good night!


  1. I love your outfit! Mmm honey...just not honey that turns your ears red haha that's very odd

  2. The President dismissed the mayor? How is he replaced? And good decision to stay away from the "women's juice"!

  3. Sounds like you had a really sweet time :D Hope you didn't get into any sticky situations...buh-boom-ch

    Gonna go have some substandard, non magical honey now.

  4. Just found out more info about the "magical" honey: it has propolis in it, which is like this resinous mixture that bees use as a sealant on their hives...hence the "glue" translation Dima gave us! Natural medicine practitioners use it for a bunch of things: inflammations, burns, ulcers, viral diseases, cataracts, sore throats, etc. Its also supposed to help fight plaque and tumours! You might have an allergy though to it, so thats why the vendor warned us about not going all hog-wild on it just in case we have a reaction. Still, I'm pretty excited to try it out!

    Mum - yes, the President dismissed the mayor. Everybody seems to hate him here. (He's also 74 and his 47 year old wife is a billionaire) I'm not sure how he's going to be replaced...I'll keep an eye out for more news in The Moscow Times!

  5. KT, your time at the honey festival sounds beeeeutiful.