Do posh bees make better honey? These bees, living in the heart of Mayfair, only forage in the best places such as St. James Park and Buckingham Palace.
They live on the roof of the oh-so-grand department store, Fortnum & Mason, in architecturally designed hives with golden turrets. But what about the honey...
Each of the rather extravagant beehives has a different classical architectural style - Roman, Mughal, Chinese and Gothic -- as well as a coat of eau de nil paint and some elegant gold finials. Said the beekeeper: "I knew that if we were going to produce our own honey, the hives just had to be something special. By bee standards, these are palatial residences."
There is a waiting list, unfortunately, each jar is £12.95, and apparently the taste is "fresh, rich and uniquely urban." Don't worry about pollution after-taste because "nectar sits deep within a plant and is sucked up by the bee's proboscis, then taken straight to the hive and sealed into the honeycomb, safe from outside influences."
With the recent announcement of Prince William's engagement to a commoner, Britain is in the midst of another debate on class. So let's travel to the other side of the tracks and compare.
Photo: Golden Company
Hackney is in London's still poor and dingy east end, despite the influx of artists and trendy shops. The Hackney-based Golden Company was set up last year to help young people engage with the environment through bee keeping. It's a social enterprise which provides training in urban beekeeping, permaculture, business, carpentry, natural cosmetics making and life skills. Sold at a weekly market, theirs starts at £1.50 a bottle.
They have a unique sponsorship idea to get things rolling. Each sponsoring company gets a colony of bees near their office, and at harvest time they get 20% of the honey for their staff and the profits from the remainder will be re-invested in training for youth.
Closer to home, this idyllic and more secluded hive is in Regent's Park. The beekeeper has more than 40 hives and the taste "this year is very multi floral and sweeter than normal. This is because June was a dry month and so the honey has a very low water content. The bees had a great month in June and spent every long, dry day bringing in the valuable nectar they turn into Regents Park Honey.multi-floral." It sells for £11.95.