The Secret Life of (DC) Bees

Urban beekeeping has been buzzing in Europe for a while now and the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts seem keen to cash in on bring the trend across the pond. Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York was the first North American hotel to jump into the bee action in 2008 when it installed a Honey Moon Suite on its roof (along with a Royal Sweet and a V.I.Bee Suite). Since then, three more Fairmont hotels established their apiary, including D.C.’s own Fairmont Hotel which already grew its own herbs and flowers and where executive sous chef Ian Bens and executive pastry chef Aaron Weber share beekeeper responsibilities. The honey produced is incorporated in the dishes served at the hotel’s restaurant’s Juniper.

Two urban apiarists helped bring world-wide attention to made-in-city honey: Steve Benbow and Jean Paucton. Both men produce their honey right in the middle of two of the busiest urban areas in the world: near Tower Bridge for the Brit and on the rooftop of Paris’ famous Opera Garnier for the French. And both sell them at exorbitant prices… Fortnum’s Bees Superior Honey will set you back $21 for 8 oz. and Paucton’s honey is available at Fauchon’s Place de la Madeleine store for $17.75 for 4.4 oz. (!!) While you’re at Fauchon, grab an eclair too…

If you need more convincing that bee keeping is now popular in D.C., look no further than the National-Trend-Setter-in-Chief: Michelle Obama’s organic garden in the White House features two beehives! My question is, when can expect to purchase some White House honey at D.C.’s Dean & Delucca or (even better) Seasonal Pantry or the White House Farmers Market?

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