Prince Charles finds “royal” honey in Romania
The next day, the 63-year-old heir to the British throne was a world away, in the heart of Transylvania, a tranquil haven he calls “‘the jewel in Romania‘s crown,” soaking up rural scenes that look like pages from Grimms’ fairy tales.
The elderflower is king of the crops. It is so abundant that a study found 26 tons of elderflowers bought by a British company from 1,200 residents represent just 3 to 4 per cent of the local elderflower harvest. After the flowers are picked, the juice is extracted from the scented cream petals and is then sent to Britain to be bottled as delicate elderflower cordial, sold in upmarket supermarkets and pubs. (In the U.S., the plant’s berries are sometimes used to make elderberry wine and other products.)
“The elderflower product is the backbone of our business. In 2012 we set out to collect 13 tons of elderflower. Now when we thought about it, one flower weighs 6 grams. It’s quite an exercise to envisage what 13 tons would look like,” said Jim Turnbull, a British entrepreneur, who ended up producing twice that amount. “We are putting a huge amount of money into the community every May and June just for elderflower, but we’re using the same teams to collect other fruit and berries that we’re making into jams and juices.”
Charles visited Turnbull’s premises on his last visit and has given his stamp of approval to Transylvanian “royal” honey, which will soon be sold in Fortnum & Mason. When he visits, Charles stays either in a restored 19th century manor in the hillside village of Valea Zălanului (available for guests when he’s not there), or farther down the valley in the village of Micloşoara, in cottages owned by Transylvanian Count Tibor Kalnoky. Charles’ younger son Prince Harry spent Easter in the area and was filmed riding a motorbike along snowy tracks.
»Prince Charles, others drawn to Transylvania, where life has stood still for centuries