|CARMEL VALLEY, CALIF. –
– Well known for its scientific superpowers, raw organic honey has held sway over humans since ancient Egypt. Rich in probiotics, antioxidants and body-loving luxury, honey bees are credited with pollinating roughly one-third of the U.S. food supply. Flush with 180,000 Italian honeybees and buzzy new ways to lap up the local nectar, Bernardus Lodge & Spa’s new apiculture program celebrates this golden elixir in a variety of formats. From grilled rosemary rabbit with caramelized black pepper honey gastric to the Mexican Honey Bee, fueled with Reposado Tequila and a bitter-sweet sting, guests can walk the hives, belly up to Lucia Restaurant & Bar, enjoy honey-infused spa treatments or tuck into a new suite or villa at this Forbes Four-Star retreat just nine miles from the Pacific. Tie in a sweet deal with luxury accommodations starting at $345.00 midweek. www.bernarduslodge.com
Set on 28 acres of lush florals and vineyards, 100 fruit trees, a two-acre organic garden and 2,000 English, French and Spanish lavender plants, Bernardus Lodge’s newest residents prove worthy, visiting up to 5,000 flowers a day. Three bee colonies with three queen bees grace the vegetable and rose gardens, bedding down in miniature Bernardus Lodge-like hives. Maintained by chef Stamenov – including two personal home hives – the apiculture program yielded a sweet stash of 150 pounds of honey in 2018, its first year of full production.
As the stars align in Lucia Restaurant’s contemporary dining room, so do the local
farmers, foragers and fishermen sourced for chef Cal’s daily menu. Classically trained with an eye to sustainability, Stamenov is deft at delivering seasonal fare without the fuss. A protégé of Alain Ducasse and Michel Richard, his pedigree culminates in a hyper-focused approach spotlighting the essence of the dish and time-honored roux and reductions.
Named after the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and its dramatic backdrop to the 2,300 sq. ft., Lucia Restaurant and alfresco terrace provide an elegant twist on light and texture. Rustic handcrafted iron tree branches, two fire features and plush Italian white leather chairs set the stage for the season’s repast, which includes such honey-centric entrees as a playful Mediterranean-style Grilled Lamb “Ribeye”paired with a Moroccan pastille, Medjool dates and “pain de miel” jus or Grilled Rosemary Rabbit served with cippolini onions, caramelized black pepper honey gastric and cured Meyer lemon. The resort’s estate grown lavender makes a showing in the Grilled Sonoma Duck, Alder smoked with a fragrant carrot puree and lavender-honey kumquat chutney. From the sea comes a sinful Seared Diver Scallop entrée set off with honey braised black radish, Brussel sprouts and a heady truffle vinaigrette. Diners can also dive into an array of desserts including the airy White Chocolate Honey “Ginger Bread” paired with satsuma mandarin ice cream and chestnut brown butter fondue; $12.00 – $55.00.
Known for its garden-to-glass ethos, Lucia Bar — an open-air craft cocktail hub — rolls out three new libations to celebrate the season. For the ultimate Southern fix, American Honey steps up with Tennessee whiskey, fresh lemon and garden honey served on the rocks with burnt citrus. Tequila is a perfect foil for nectar as well; tap into the Mexican Honey Bee pairing Reposado tequila with bitters, fresh lemon and honey bee syrup for the ultimate kick. For spicier palates, the Bee Sting steps up with St. George Chili Vodka, jalapeno and honey syrup shaken and served up with a rim of honey powered jalapeno – a dynamic game changer for a match on the nearby bocce lawn. $15.00.
Bee-Friendly Body Treatments
Hydrate, restore and rejuvenate – a key triad in any spa treatment and mantra at the spacious award-winning 5,200 sq. ft., Spa at Bernardus. Start the day with a long soak in the alfresco warming pool followed by a steam before tapping into body treatments with an elixir ancient Greeks and Egyptians have long relished: organic honey. Honey is a humectant, so it naturally attracts and retains moisture making it ideal for skin treatments.
Celebrating the first honey harvest, the Spa is offering a new Lavender & Honey Bee Body Treatment fusing estate-grown lavender and organic honey. Tune the soul and free the skin with a freshly milled lavender scrub paired with natural exfoliants followed by a warm rinse and full body application of cold pressed lavender olive oil combined with an age-defiant wild honey face mask curated to purify, hydrate and restore. The service culminates with a secret honey-nectar face serum infused with grapefruit and calendula, packing potent antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental damage. $185.00/50 minutes.
Perennially recognized by discerning readers of Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Resorts” and Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top Resorts” this Forbes Travel Guide Four Star property has long set the gold standard for wine country vacationing. Reopened after a full resort renovation in 2015, Bernardus Lodge & Spa is set on 28 pristine Carmel Valley acres awash with vineyards and lavender and boasts 73 luxurious guestrooms, suites & villas, the signature Spa at Bernardus, award-winning Lucia Restaurant & Bar, a junior Olympic size swimming pool, a hilltop adults-only infinity Jacuzzi, an alfresco croquet and bocce lawn, two tennis courts and 4,300 sq. ft. of meeting space. Woodside Hotel Group (www.woodsidehotelgroup.com
), an operator of a portfolio of distinguished independent luxury properties throughout Northern California, is the management company for the property located on the Monterey Peninsula, 120 mi./193 km, south of San Francisco and 330 mi./531 km., north of Los Angeles. For information, contact Bernardus Lodge & Spa at 831-658-3400 or visit www.bernarduslodge.com
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Top Health Benefits of Raw, Organic Honey
Raw honey has been used as medicine since ancient times. The benefits of organic honey are enormous, including:
- Antioxidant Powerhouse: Honey contains polyphenols shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Powerful Probiotic: Some varieties of honey possess large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of Bifidobacterium. This may explain many of the mysterious therapeutic properties of honey.
- Ultimate Healer: The natural antibacterial agents of raw honey react to the body’s fluids to produce hydrogen peroxide, which is inhospitable to bacteria assisting in wound and ulcer healing.
- Nutritional Superstar: Used as an energy source for runners in the Olympics in ancient Greece, natural honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, vitamins B6, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin which helps to neutralize damaging free radicals while maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time.
- Skin’s Super-Agent: Honey’s natural anti-bacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin and when used with the other ingredients, can be excellent in moisturizing and nourishing.
- Allergy Armor: Since bees pollinate plants, it only makes sense that honey is a fast-track allergy preventer.
- Sleep Promoter: Consuming honey before bedtime restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, thus waking one.
- Perfect Balancing Act: Honey has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for at least 4,000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful in improving eyesight, weight loss and curing impotence.
- Blood Sugar’s Best Friend: Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar.
- Soothing Qualities: Honey is a natural cough and throat soother and can alleviate the nasty sidebars that accompany a cold.