Design

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Bompas & Parr blend art and honey with Relais & Châteaux for the Joy of Bees

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Boutique hotel and gourmet restaurant brand Relais & Châteaux recently announced an immersive experiential art installation in collaboration with design creators and culinary innovators, Bompas & Parr, which fuses gastronomic tasting with fine art. The experience is bring dubbed “The Joy of Bees,” and affords guests the opportunity to savour the glory of eight exotic honeys collected from Relais & Châteaux properties. These honeys are produced in extremely limited quantities, which will be revealed to the public over the course of the 7th and 8th October in choreographed tasting experiences at a townhouse in Soho. The immersive tastings will be conducted by award-winning honey experts from Bermondsey Street Bees, who will be directly connecting the culinary experiences of Relais & Châteaux with the tasting notes of each respective honey.

In recent years it’s been hard to ignore bees’ plight, dying in their millions across the world. Faced with destruction of their habitats, it’s a well-known fact that, without bees, the natural cycle of life might well fall apart. Indeed Albert Einstein once famously stated: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left.” Environmentally, the world relies on bees as pollinators as pollination is an essential element of seasonality and plant life cycles.

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The Joy of Bees will be held between the 6th and the 8th of October over four floors in the heart of Soho, at 19 Greek Street, and will be a ticketed event, open to the public. Visitors can expect a veritable honeypot of experiences including a wondrous fragrant indoor garden, a buzzing live honeybee observation hive, honeycomb-inspired contemporary art, honey tasting from around the world led by a honey sommelier, hands-on chef cookery demos and more. The experience celebrates Relais & Châteaux’s commitment by giving visitors the opportunity to participate in the world’s most extensive art installation dedicated to honey. Winding a fascinating path through four floors of 19 Greek Street, a townhouse-turned gallery space committed to sustainability, the installation will engage visitors’ imaginations, demonstrating the dizzying world of bees and their magical golden nectar. A carefully curated experience, visitors will be invited to reflect on the momentous bee and the path from flower to jar, experiencing a fascinating journey through the interconnected rooms lasting approximately 45 minutes.

The bee connection might not be immediately apparent to anyone not familiar with the Relais & Châteaux brand, but the company, which owns over 540 individual hotels and restaurants around the globe, is dedicated to the preservation of local cultures, local produce and local biodiversity. One perhaps unexpected way in which many of the properties and hotelkeepers demonstrate this is to become beekeepers, giving these vital pollinators a habitat in which to live and produce their own delicious local honey – from Japan to New Zealand, and from the USA to the UK, Relais & Châteaux properties around the world are honey producers.

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Photo: Addie Chinn

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Photo: Addie Chinn

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Photo: Addie Chinn

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Photo: Addie Chinn

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Photo: Addie Chinn

Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux said: “I am delighted to bring The Joy of Bees to London. Relais & Châteaux is committed to the environment and the protection of the natural landscapes in which our properties sit – every member of our group is determined to protect, share and showcase the richness and diversity of their locale and our honey producers are the perfect example of this. We are excited to work with Bompas & Parr to bring this entertaining and educational experience to London to celebrate our properties, our beekeepers, the humble but essential honeybee and our heritage of culinary excellence.”

Raymond Blanc OBE, Celebrity Chef, Relais & Châteaux spokesman and winner of 2016’s Sustainable Restaurant of the Year at The National Restaurant Awards 2016, added: “With this exhibition we call to action and show that bees represent our relationship to nature and that we have to care and protect them. Honey should be treasured. I know I speak for all chefs and hoteliers at Relais & Châteaux when I say I am proud to celebrate the way in which we work with our natural surroundings and local producers, and use nature to inspire the recipes and ingredients that we use, such as the honey made at some of our properties. We have just finished planting a 4,000 tree organic orchard; a bee village will be at the heart of it.”

Harry Parr, Co-founder at Bompas & Parr, said: “It's all too easy to get blasé about the issues to our very survival posed by the plight of bees. But by creating a unique design experience, focusing on the sheer taste of these eight exotic honeys and collaborating with Relais & Châteaux's chefs, we have put a new sting in the tail of this issue.” If you're interested in the Joy of Bees, tickets will be available soon for just £9.00 per person, including booking fee, via Billetto. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the British Beekeepers Association.

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