Four South African sisters are in a class of their own, after winning the top prize at the London 2021 International Honey Awards (LIHA).
The Khan girls from Cape Town – Athlone were presented with the Platinum award, given to honey with a quality rating of 95.5 to 100 percent.
20-year-old Sana Khan is the co-owner of Beelal Honey with her little sisters Noor, age 15, Ilham, age 13, and Asma, age 11. Beelal sources their delicious honey from the indigenous Fynbos plant on South Africa’s Western Cape Coast.
“We’re extremely pleased with the prize,” Sana told Vision Times, “We hope that people all over the world will come to know and taste our indigenous fynbos honey.”
It was during the national lockdown that the sisters launched their premium honey business, called Beelal Honey, named after their father, Bilal, News24 reported.
Sana said, “Honey has always been like something in the family. It kind of became a tradition.”
Bilal Khan was the early catalyst for the whole endeavor. While on business travels abroad, he used to search out the finest honey and bring it back home as a gift for his daughters to enjoy.
“For years, our father traveled the world on business trips and brought back home exotic honey from all the different countries he visited,” Sana said.
“We were very fortunate to be exposed to various honey of vibrant colors, textures, and flavors from all around the world such as Turkey, Europe, Dubai, America, India, and countless more.”
“As children, we were fascinated by this honey and eagerly awaited our father’s return from his business trips. Our father initiated our honey business four years ago, I used to help him and go on field trips with him during the research stage, and then I started handling the social media, the emails, and the website, and all the other background work of the business, and that was the beginning of my Beelal honey adventure and how I got to start running it,” the young entrepreneur said proudly.
And that’s how it all began.
“Honey that is harvested from these rare species of Cape flowers produces a rich flavor unlike any other,” Sana explains.
“Eventually…we realized we have a lot of good honey in South Africa. The honey from this region is rare, with qualities and flavors that honey in other regions and parts of the world don’t have. We found out that Cape honeybees have been here since the beginning of time; they have really thrived alongside fynbos for thousands of years.”
“So the enzymes they have are 2,000 years old, and those are the enzymes you’re going to have in your honey. It’s just great to think that something like this is right here, and nothing is really focused on this specialty,” she said.
Beelal Luxury Honey is sourced solely from the world’s most botanically diverse region, the Cape Floral Region. The Cape’s fynbos is the world’s smallest floral kingdom, located almost entirely within one South African province. It is estimated that over 9,000 species of fynbos can be found in the Cape region, with 70 percent of these species occurring nowhere else on the planet.
Currently, the family has 150 beehives on the West Coast and collaborates with other farms that host their beehives as well.
“It’s about the quality of the honey, how good it is,” Sana said.
“They’re our hives and our bees, but we keep them on their fields. It’s all our own honey, we collect it ourselves, we harvest it ourselves, it’s just that we can’t just keep it all in one place because then we’ll only get one type of honey,” saying that they harvest honey two to three times a year.
“We have a few stores in our neighborhood that we supply to. But for us, it’s not about supplying to the greatest number of stores. It’s more important that the quality of honey is good, and the bees are protected,” Sana said.