Philip Prior: Provencal Honey Beekeeper

Philip Prior is a provencal honey beekeeper and was the first market stall holder I met when Marcel and I moved to Cotignac last year. I was a little intimidated by his perfect French, but looking at my perplexed face, he smiled and asked, “Would you like to try some honey?” Turns out that Philip is also an expat, who left the UK a couple of decades ago and moved South to enjoy the local art de vivre. He’s totally passionate about bees, bee-keeping and offers professional training on how to keep bees.

The Mirabeau Boutique is delighted to include Philip as one of the featured local Producers. Visiting his stand at the Cotignac market, I’m sure you’ll also be surprised at how different each honey tastes. Some have hints of rosemary, lavender or thyme, others even have a bitter-sweet taste. Quite amazing! Philip also makes two kinds of nougat: the “normal” white one that you see everywhere, which is sugar-based, and a healthier, honey-based traditional Provençal dark nougat… delicious!

Below is a video we made of his honey stall last winter.

When a feral swarm of bees adopted a window alcove belonging to a friend of ours, we asked Philip to remove it and filmed the process. It’s so inspiring watching someone doing something they love. He treats the bees with such respect, and isn’t afraid of getting stung (nor is he allergic to bee stings).

Some people think he’s nuts not to wear the protective gear all the time, but he understands the swarm dynamics and knows when the queen is not amused. My favourite part was seeing how the beehive shape is created. And of course, eating raw honey from the comb!