Cooking, tasting, living honey by Jodie Goldsworthy

Discover more about nature's amazing product

By Kerry Scambler
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cooking, tasting, living honey by Jodie Goldsworthy

cooking, tasting, living honey by Jodie Goldsworthy

Beechworth Honey


Cooking, tasting, living honey by Jodie Goldsworthy is a distillation of knowledge gained from four generations of bee-keepers in North-East Victoria. Not just covering honey itself with history and tasting notes, it gives you a glimmering into the vital work that bees do in sustaining life for us all.

With the bush of Gippsland, the mountains of North East Victoria and the Riverland of the majestic Murray River as her childhood backyard, it's hardly surprising that Jodie Goldsworthy ended up following her family's footsteps of bee-keeping. But this wasn't her original plan - life intervened when on her graduation as a teacher, the Victorian premier decided no new teachers would be employed. Her husband Steven decided simultaneously that a career change to bee-keeping was in order so together they started a new business....

The rest, as they say, is history - or perhaps that's modern history as there's three generations behind her along with their combined wealth of knowledge, instincts and love for nature's golden product.

Starting with background information on the family and long history in bee-keeping and moving through the start up of Beechworth Honey to today, its clear that the 'living' part of the book's title is no joke - these people live and breathe honey and their obvious passion for honey is quite infectious.

Being Tasmanian, I grew up with a love of leatherwood honey and have rarely been tempted to stray from this, always believing this honey captured our state completely so there really was no other for me. However, Jodie has managed to convince me that there may well be more than one honey in the world and perhaps it's time to expand the taste sensations.

From red gum to blackberry, ironbark to the many coloured box honeys and even one called messmate, she concisely describes the flora, the taste and offers a couple of recipe/use suggestions for each. Split into three flavour sections: fresh and fruity, warm then stronger and deeper, this handy guide will give you a good introduction to the various honeys and their uses. But we warned, it's by no means a definitive list - with eucalypts continuing to hybridise, you can expect many more variations, in fact they're likely to be endless.

Jodie uses honey in almost everything she cooks as she believes each different honey adds a subtle taste and something special to most dishes. If you find that an extreme concept, then just select a few of the delicious recipes included in the book to get you started. Tested by this reviewer's trusted home chef are the baby potatoes with caramelised sauce using the famous South Arm pink-eye chats and, (sorry Jodie but it was all we had in the pantry) leatherwood honey. It was delicious and we thought perhaps a great match for char-grilled, pepper coated steak. The golden honey-based lamb roast using soy and ginger was a different and surprisingly delicious slant on the traditional roast. The flavours remained in the lamb right through to the lamb sandwiches enjoyed for lunch in following days.

A few more honey purchases will have to be made before testing proceeds much further - blackberry honey for the stir fry, some red box for the inevitable winter hot lemon drinks and some black box for the next roast lamb.  And perhaps further investigation into Tasmania's other honeys - I'm sure there's more than leatherwood out there.

The last recipe is for a honey oatmeal mask, also edible, and it calls for apple box honey (another one for the shopping list). I'd add to this a deep, warm bath, a glass of your favourite wine within reach and call that a pretty good recipe for relaxation.

It's evident that there's a lot more to Australian honey history, our bees, the range of honeys available and just what an amazing product this is for one book but Cooking, tasting, living honey could well give you the taste for more - be that knowledge or the product itself.

The final page in the book contains the quote 'there are two things we should give our children; one is roots and the other is wings' (Hodding Carter). Clearly Jody's parents gave her both and Australian honey lovers should be grateful for that.


Cooking, tasting, living honey by Jodie Goldsworthy (RRP A$39.95) is available from Beechworth Honey's online shop »



  • Beechworth (VIC)
  • North East Victoria (VIC)

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May 31st, 2010
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