Discover the art of Old School Crumpet making: Beechworth’s Bee School
There’s something special about rediscovering the Lost Arts of Old School Crumpet Making in Beechworth, famed for the Gold Rush, Ned Kelly’s trial and charming historic buildings. It’s a place that begs you to slow down a while, meander the streets and relax as you soak in the finest of architectural details in one of Australia’s best preserved towns.
Beechworth Honey’s Bee School lies at the heart of it all, in the former Bank of New South Wales on Ford Street. It’s now home to the Lost Arts Series: curated courses designed to skill participants up ready to accomplish new feats in the kitchen, garden, art of homemaking and more. Workshops are run by a talented pool of local professionals including Taste Trekker’s Sally Lynch, Ninn’s Pantry’s Bronwyn Ingleton and Beechworth Honey’s Jodie Goldsworthy, who shares her expertise on all things bees.
The art of ‘slow’ is fully embraced at Bee School, much to the joy of my fellow classmates who’d come for a weekend activity promising an ace up their sleeves in their kitchen repertoire. Even better, was learning to make something that required at least half an hour of proving as the yeast rose – the ideal opportunity to sample Beechworth Honey’s Bee Cause range of varietals and plan what to have on our crumpets.
Class tutors Amanda and Claire were the perfect team, taking us through the fascinating process of honeycomb creation, during which bees call on the four sets of wax glands under their abdomens to form this complex structure. The walls of each individual section are manufactured in a circle, with three weak points that create the hexagonal shape we know as honeycomb: apparently second to the Pyramids as one of the world’s strongest frameworks.
Tasting honeycomb was nothing like you’d expect from a commercially produced offering, especially where little or no actual honey has been used. For the real thing, it’s essential to chew really quickly and extract the full caramel flavour in what’s naturally a delicious sweet treat. Take a second or more too long, then you’re left with a mouthful of sticky wax. It’s not terrible – and the benefits of that initial flavour burst make it more than worthwhile – but I’d definitely recommend eating honeycomb as quickly as you can.
In itself, the Lost Arts of crumpet making could just as easily be seen as your chance to rediscover the Lost Arts of patience, for in addition to the proving time, there’s another 10 minutes required of long, slow cooking on the stove. As our confidence grew, we learnt to leave the crumpets until they bubbled on top and developed a slight skin – telltale signs the bottoms were cooked through and it was time to flip them until completion.
The recipe provided was the Magic Pudding of morning tea, yielding endless amounts of crumpets that we lathered with generous dollops of butter and honey. They’re something you make once and swear you’ll never buy again: superior flavour, texture and moreishness, especially when eaten straight from the pan. Those that lasted were met with shrieks of delight from my professional tasting panel at home, who couldn’t believe I’d developed such an impressive skill. Thumbs up to the team at Bee School – I’ve made the grade and look forward to learning more.
Lost Arts Series Essentials
Further information about Beechworth Honey’s Lost Arts Series classes can be found via this link. The Old School Crumpet Making course can be offered for private group classes for 8 or more participants.
Beechworth Honey gifted 52 Weekends North East Victoria one ticket for this experience, but we were under no obligation to promote it, favourably or otherwise. Please contact us via hello@52WeekendsNEVic.com.au should you require further information.
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