The relationship between bees and humans dates to the hunter-gatherer days when armed with nothing except a long stick, men would knock down hives from trees and run. Returning to the scene to harvest the honey when it was deemed safe honey was harvested.
There are cave paintings in Valencia Spain dating back about 8,000 years that show two people collecting honey and honeycomb from a wild bee hive.
Ancient Egyptians valued beeswax in mummification and used it for the embalming process. They also used wax to seal the coffin and make it air tight, further preserving the body.
They even recognized the importance of beeswax in health, as prescriptions dating back to 1550 B.C. called for beeswax in various formulations, as did the Chinese.
Two years ago chef Reitbauer developed a new method of cooking which has caused considerable interest in professional circles. The idea of cooking using organic beeswax heated to 84°C and poured over grayling fillet to watch it after a short time the wax sets and a perfectly cooked fish!
He also uses wax to preserve foods and even clarify stock, reusing wax several times until it loses its character. The melting point is 61°C and when you heat it over 90°C it loses aroma. But Reitbauer’s goal is to flavor the stock and his beeswax-based dishes with that seasonal je ne sais quoi only bees can deliver.
This is simply genius and what a tremendous idea, simple yet so precise. My photos do not do it justice but until next time when I return to Vienna.
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