L'Arbre Aux Abeilles

'The idea is to go towards an apiculture based on the well-being of the honey bees, and to move away from an apiculture based on the demand of the beekeepers. We need to adapt, not the bees.'

Languedoc, France

Region

Organic (Uncertified)

Farming

n/a

Size

Yves Élie & Chantal are based in the charming town of Pont Montvert, a postcard-like village in Lozère, which sits on the banks of the beautiful river Tarn. Their fizzy hydromel (thought by some to be the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world) is made from the endogenic yeasts from their honey, and the pure water coming from Mont Lozère. The two have long had a passion for nature, and when they returned home to the heart of the Cevennes in 2006, they began working as beekeepers. In 2008, they created an association called L'Arbre aux Abeilles, with the aim being to protect the only honey bee specie indigenous to France, “l’abeille noire", also called the European Honey Bee.

Studies show that the population of bee colonies are in decline. Some parasites, like the Varroa, put natural pressure on the species. However, most of these threats are human-made, and are the result of the modern idea of agriculture, which solely focuses on an intense monoculture and reduces the amount of biodiversity for pollination due to the heavy usage of fertilisers and pesticides.

This is pure honey they work with, more akin to what the bees would produce for themselves for their survival. It has lower yields and more concentration than what we know to be commercially produced. From this exceptional honey, and the incredible water from the high altitude Mont Lozère, they create a range of pétillant hydromels. The first two cuvees here are made from flowery honey and from chestnut honey. Fermentation starts and finishes naturally in bottle, using only the yeasts and sugar from their honey.

We feel extremely lucky to be able to witness such dedication, and to be part of a dialogue around defending our insects and their skies, and most importantly, the European Honey Bees. And, more than anything, to see the result that are these incredible products.

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