Last Tuesday I was part of a group of nine judges who participated in tastings for the 5th Annual Natural Honey Challenge. The Challenge is sponsored by the Big Island Beekeepers Association (BIBA).
This year there were a total of 64 entries from 4 islands in three categories; liquid, solid and honey comb.
Entrants send in their jars with completed paperwork and a number is assigned to each jar, corresponding to a number on the paperwork. This is a 'blind tasting', as judges do not know who the entry is from.
The tasting is done in a number of 'flights' and each flight was composed of 5 to 6 different entries. Judges criteria: Appearance, Aroma, Texture and Taste - scoring from 1 - 10 with 10 being highest point per criteria category.
The tasting and judging usually takes place a couple of weeks before the actual Honey Festival, which this year will be held at the Nani Mau Gardens from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, November 22nd and there will be a preliminary Gala Dinner, also at the Nani Mau Gardens on Wednesday evening November 19th. The winners will be announced the day of the Festival. Also on Saturday, the public will be able to taste and vote for the People's Choice Award.
The American Honey Queen will be here again this year; during her visit the week of the festival, she will be dropping by schools to talk about honey and bees and their importance to our food supply with the students. The Queen will also attend both the Gala Dinner and the Festival.
Halfway through the tasting process the judges, the officials, and the 'experts' were all treated to a beautiful, delicious tasting lunch
This is my 4th time to participate as a judge in this event. My fellow judges this time around were:
Ed Bouc, owner (with his wife) of the award-winning One Heart Coffee Farm, in Hamakua.
Hope Johnson, yoga teacher, meditation instructor and owner of an essential botanical business.
Ryan Kadota, 3rd generation owner of Kadota Liquors; he is a certified sake specialist and wine expert.
Cody Gregory, third grade teacher at Volcano School of Arts & Science and bee enthusiast.
Lauren Rusert is the assistant State Apiarist, or bee specialist, rugby champion and honey judge extraordinaire. One of her specialties is breeding very special parasite sensitive queen bees.
Audrey Wilson, cookbook author and weekly columnist for the Hawai'i Tribune-Herald of Hilo for the last several years.
Christian Holt, graduate of Baltimore's Culinary Academy, has worked at the Orchid (now Fairmont) and has now relocated to Hilo.
Wenndy Tefft, an employeed of the Hawaiian Island Honey Company has been immersend in the honey business for many years.
Sonia R. Martinez, I hope by now you know I chat with you through this blog; cookbook author, food columnist and freelance food writer. For the last three years writing a regular food column for Ke Ola Magazine.
The judges were presented with beautiful baskets for the judges at the end of the day.
I hope to see many of you at the Honey Festival on November 22nd!
For more information on BIBA
To read more about previous years' contests and festivals click on the following