Riath Hamed is known as the ‘Honey Man’, which is the sweetest of titles, reflecting his passion and knowledge of this luxurious golden food.

Of Yemeni heritage, Riath was brought up in Sheffield but on visiting the Middle East he was shocked to discover that he couldn’t find the beautiful raw honey that was produced in nearby Yemen.

This fuelled a single-minded obsession; to make the finest raw honey in the world available to everyone. He connected with rural beekeepers using centuries old traditions in Yemen to form cooperatives and he now travels the globe seeking out unique and delicious raw honey.

The precious honey is harvested and dispensed in food-grade containers before being brought to Riath’s site in Sheffield where jar filling and distribution happen. Honey HQ is the sweet-sounding ‘honey boutique’ located at the gatehouse entrance of the Sheffield Botanical Garden.

Here you can try natural raw honey which is very different from heat-treated and sugar-fed products often found in supermarkets says Riath,

‘The biggest difference in the taste of our honey compared to others lies in the exceptional variety and depth of flavours due to the diverse range of floral sources from which our bees collect nectar. Also, our commitment to selling raw honey means preserving the natural enzymes, pollen, and other beneficial compounds present in the honey.’

Great British Life: Inside a beehive. (c) GettyInside a beehive. (c) Getty

Riath’s beekeepers comes from regions known for abundant botanical landscapes and often these places have rich and interesting plant life, each with its own distinctive nectar composition.

‘We collaborate closely with local passionate beekeepers as they possess an intimate understanding of their local environment and the bees that thrive within it’, says Riath.

‘The biodiversity of the region is important as it helps us navigate what territories are known for some of the best nectars, for example Yemeni for its famous Sidr trees that produce some of the most incredible mono-floral Sidr honey or New Zealand for its Manuka.

‘By doing so, we ensure that our honey represents not only a delectable culinary experience but also a reflection of the unique natural characteristics of the region. Our goal is to bring an unparalleled tasting experience, transporting customers to different corners of the world through the diverse flavours and nuances found in our varietal honeys.’

Raith spends a couple of months a year visiting his beekeepers around the world and another month exploring new locations and meeting new beekeepers.

Back in Sheffield, the honey boutique idea won the supported of Sheffield City Council at the Botanic Gardens and Riath is working on collaborating with the beekeeper in the gardens to stock his honey.


Great British Life: Delicious date granola. (c) BalqeesDelicious date granola. (c) Balqees

Balqees Date Granola

Here's a tasty, crunchy granola recipe that uses nuts, dates and raw honey with no refined sugar which Riath absolutely loves to eat for breakfast. The nuts and seeds can be excluded or replaced to suit preferences.


4 cups of rolled oats (360g)

1/2 cup of slivered almonds (55g)

1/2 cup of cashews (75g)

1/2 cup of pecans (65g)

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (65g)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

200gm of any variety Balqees honey

1/2 cup of good olive oil (120ml)

1 cup of pitted and chopped Medjool dates (130g)


1. Preheat oven to 177 degrees (°C).

2. Add all dry ingredients (excluding the chopped dates) to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil and honey to a small bowl and heat on the stove top for 10 seconds or so or until melted. Pour the honey/olive oil over the oat mixture and use a spoon to stir until everything is coated.

3. Pour the granola mixture onto a baking sheet and form a rectangle so that the ingredients are not too spaced out. 20 minutes into baking, mix granola around on the baking sheet with a spatula so that it bakes evenly, and repeat the process every 10 minutes. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes on the centre rack of your oven or until the granola is crispy and golden brown.

4. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool for at least 10 minutes – this is where the clusters start to form. Once the granola has cooled, add the chopped dates to the granola and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy served with yoghurt or milk of choice, and a little drizzle of Balqees honey.

Great British Life: Yemini honey cake. (c) BalqeesYemini honey cake. (c) Balqees

Balqees Bint Al Sahn (Yemeni Honey Cake)

A rich, buttery, traditional Yemeni dessert made of layers of thinly rolled dough and drizzled with honey. Traditionally served with hot, black tea. The amount of honey poured over is a matter of personal taste but it's usually very generous. Riath recommends using Balqees’ Raw Yemeni Sidr honey.

This multi-layered, bread-like dessert, infused with black seeds, was lovingly prepared by Riath’s mother, and has become a symbol of warmth and love in his childhood home.

Cuisine: Yemeni

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Resting time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6


1 tsp dried yeast

2-3 tbsp water 1/4 cup

560 g strong white bread flour 4 cups

4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

175g ghee or melted butter 1 cup

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp black cumin seeds

200 ml raw Yemeni honey or more to taste


In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in half of the room temperature water.

Combine the flour, 4 eggs, melted ghee or butter, salt, and yeast mixture. Knead the mixture by hand or with a stand mixer using the dough hook for 10-15 minutes until it forms a smooth dough that doesn't stick to your hands. Add extra water gradually if needed.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces using a round-bladed knife. Shape each piece into a smooth ball by rolling it between your hands.

Grease a 36cm (14 inch) round cake tin with butter.

Lightly flour a clean, flat surface. Take one ball of dough, flatten it with your hand, and toss it between your palms until it expands. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it becomes very thin and transparent, forming a rough circular shape.

Carefully place the rolled-out dough into the greased cake tin, stretching the edges to fit the sides. Brush a little ghee or melted butter on top of the dough.

Repeat the process for the remaining balls of dough, stacking them on top of each other in the tin with a small amount of ghee or melted butter between each layer. Do not put any ghee or butter on the top layer.

Brush the top layer with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with black cumin seeds.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake the cake for 18-20 minutes or until it turns golden brown.

While the cake is still warm, generously pour raw honey over the top. Traditionally, it is eaten by tearing off pieces with your fingers and not sliced.