Diner K has been on a major health kick lately, eating mostly organic, whole foods (not processed) and “superfoods”, which as you know usually commands much higher prices at the grocery store. Case-in-point, enter what we have here today with Melora Raw New Zealand Mānuka Honey, rated at UMF 10+. More on UMFs shortly.
While I know of a Hawaiian name similar to it, I never ever heard of New Zealand Mānuka Honey until Diner K recently told me about it. “Manuka huh? What?” So we checked out Costco Hawaii Kai, where her personal trainer told her you could get it at the best price in town. Sure enough on an aisle end cap where the juices are, way in the back near the refrigerator cases was a whole pallet of the stuff. Guess how much? $36.99 for a tiny 17.6 oz (1 lb. 1.6 oz.) jar. Whoah! This honey better taste like gold as much as it’s priced like it!
Actually, judging Mānuka Honey in a culinary sense for the sake of just eating it seems to be missing the point, as most folks online suggest it more for medicinal applications and as a nutritional supplement. But heck with that, I’m a food blogger, gosh darned it, I wanna’ know how it TASTES!
First of all, why so expensive? Well, right there on the package explains it all:
“WHAT MAKES OUR HONEY SO SPECIAL ~ Mānuka is a member of the Tea Tree group of plants and is also known as Leptospermum acoparium. The Mānuka flowers produce nectar for only 2-6 weeks a year, so the bees have a very short time to turn it into precious Mānuka Honey.
Our raw honey is unpasteurized, and is lightly filtered so it also contains naturally occuring bee pollen and propolis.”
Wow, only two to six weeks per year time frame for the bees to produce this? OK, now that seems to justify the price, as clearly the annual production volume of Mānuka Honey is very limited.
UMF stands for Unique Mānuka Factor, a quality trademark and grading system to protect you as a consumer to the authenticity of the product:
- 0-4+ Not detectable
- 5-9+ Low grade (great for everyday wellbeing and is perfect in smoothies, tonics and teas)
- 10-15+ Medium grade (handy to keep in your medicine cabinet for when you need something stronger)
- 16+ Superior high grade (ideal for special needs such as stomach problems or topical applications)
If you go to this Melora Mānuka Honey products page (different company?), they offer it in several quality grades: UMF 5+, 10+, 15+ and 20+. The 500 gram jar (same size as the one from Costco) of Manuka Honey UMF 10+ sells on their website for $99 New Zealand Dollars, which converts to $73 US. So yes, at $36.99, this is definitely a “deal” at Costco, if you can call it that. If you go for the top-shelf UMF 20+ on Melora’s website, it’s their most expensive, selling for $170 NZ / $125 US per 250 gram jar (half the size). Holy Honey!
OK, now that I FINALLY got it out of its anti-theft blister packaging, which was a “b#tch to do BTW, here we have it in my hand to scale, showing just how relatively small this 17.6 oz. jar is (hey no snide remarks about small hands lol). Specifically the plastic jar measures 4-3/8″ height x 2-5/8” width on all four sides.
That’s actually another thing worth mentioning, that with such a high price, you’d at least expect a glass jar, not plastic as it’s packaged here. Perhaps they don’t want to risk breakage and product loss because of its valuable contents.
There you have all four sides of the jar label, including the nutritional facts. However, there’s a lot more going on with Mānuka Honey that’s far more significant than those basic FDA numbers.
Depending on its UMF rating, these are some of the medicinal uses & health benefits Mānuka Honey is said to offer:
- Naturally rich in fructose and many other reducing sugars, amino acids, enzymes and B-complex vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and B6
- Helps with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), low stomach acid, acid reflux
- May help treat Acne, Eczema and other skin-related problems
- Combats Staph Infections (MRSA)
- Treats burns, wounds and ulcers
- Prevents tooth decay and gingivitis
- Aids IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) treatment
- Improves sore throats and immunity
- Helps allergies
- Beauty treatment and health booster
- Improves sleep
Diner K’s personal trainer recommended she take 1 teaspoon of Mānuka Honey daily as an overall health and workout performance enhancer. Simple as that, straight up, similar to taking a liquid medicine or supplement. And I agree with that, as some people put it in their tea or mix it or top it with this or that. However this Mānuka honey is so incredibly DELICIOUS all by itself, it would be a shame to dilute down its incredible flavor and texture. No can! Savor and enjoy it straight up!
Opening the jar, notice there’s a cloudiness to this honey. Again, like the company explained, “Our raw honey is unpasteurized, and is lightly filtered so it also contains naturally occuring bee pollen and propolis.” Oh man, them bee pollens and propolis create this subtle, silky grittiness to its mouthfeel that I’ve never experienced with any other honey I’ve tried. It’s like the honey is kissing you. For real!
So how does this UMF 10+ rated Manuka Honey taste? OMG! To be honest I’ve never been a honey fan, however with this one? In Chef Sam Choy’s words, UNBELIEVABLE! Wow, wow, wow! It’s like someone took the best honey in the world, and threw a stick of whole butter in it. Seriously it almost taste like fresh-made caramel. It’s like honey caramel sauce, literally tasting like a hybrid of the two. Yet there’s certainly nothing it but pure New Zealand Manuka Honey… all 2 weeks of hard bees work labor to create this precious edible liquid gold.
As for sweetness, wow, this honey tastes SUPER SWEET. At least to my palate it is. To me it tastes sweeter than most common hard candies you find at the store made with sugar or corn syrup. Because of that, I found when taking a teaspoon at a time (I sneak and take more like a tablespoon), it’s best to do it in incremented tongue-smackin’ nibbles. That way you can also take time to fully savor its rich honey-caramel flavor and silky-gritty bee pollen-laced texture. So, so ono!
Do I personally feel any health benefits, like better sleep or boosted energy from taking it regularly over two past week? Maybe an enhanced libido, that’s about it. Just kidding. lol I feel good I guess, but that’s partially because I’ve been eating much healthier and exercising a lot more since the new year began, so there’s more going on than being psychological, or specifically because of this.
Following this article is a short YouTube clip I uploaded of the honey being dripped off a spoon, where you can see in motion just how sexy-silky ‘n velvety it is.
Summing it up, while it’s not THE most expensive honey in the world, Melora Raw New Zealand Mānuka Honey UMF 10+ has all the DNA and requisite dinero to be in the big leagues with the likes of Japanese Kobe Beef, Iranian Beluga Caviar and European White Truffles. So worth its weight in liquid edible gold, this honey is absolutely, incredibly, amazingly delicious!
What? Melora Raw New Zealand Mānuka Honey UMF 10+
Where did you get it and how much? Costco Hawaii Kai, $36.99/17.6 oz. jar
Big Shaka to: “Foodgasm” in a jar… BEST TASTING HONEY EVER! Tastes like a hybrid of caramel and honey, being super rich and buttery. Luscious very fine gritty texture from natural bee pollen. Tastes amazing all on its own, no need for any other enhancements or fattening add ons (ice cream, cookies, etc.). 100% whole food, with no preservatives, additives or GMOs. New Zealand and Maori people. Costco.
No Shaka to: A tiny jar costs as much as a pack of Prime grade Ribeye Steaks (yet way healthier, that’s for sure). Plastic jar, not glass. Anti-theft blister packaging is nearly impossible to remove… watch your fingers! Slim to 0% chance the Costco Sample Lady will be handing out samples of Manuka Honey any time soon. Come on “Cosco’s”, bus’ ’em out!
The Tasty Island rating:
10 Musubi (ovah’-da’-top, broke da’ mout’ onolicious winnahz!)
P.S. Coming soon, a product view on Moana Hotel & Resort Signature Big Island Macadamia Nut Honey.