It’s no secret that I love the natural brand, Melvita, so it’s a great pleasure to have visited their eco factory in the Ardeche, France. When I say it’s in the middle of nowhere, I mean it. Just getting there was an adventure (not least because Lyon airport car hire arrangements are, shall we say, a challenge – and major learning of the trip is that nobody in France knows what Sat Nav is – they call it GPS. So, no matter how many times and how slowly you say S A T N A V nobody will be able to help you)! I’ve split this post into two parts (part two tomorrow) because there is so much to tell and even then it’s pared right back so it doesn’t become Melvita The Book.Melvita Bee
But to understand Melvita properly, and maybe more importantly, the people behind Melvita, it was a trip well worth making. Melvita was founded by Bernard Chevilliat and his brother in 1977. Their first product was a hexagonal soap (still available). It’s still very much a family affair with Nuriel, Bernard’s wife and his daughter Amanda very much involved with the brand, despite it being bought by L’Occitane in 2008. Bernard and Nuriel very kindly opened their home so we could have lunch with them, Amanda, Sarah (Amanda’s two year old daughter) 25 cats, one dog and eight horses! During lunch we were able to ask Bernard questions about Melvita and of course the conversation inevitable turned to bees, the cornerstone of the Melvita brand.
I’ve never knowingly been anywhere near a bee hive before so getting as close as we did was definitely an experience! Bernard showed us one of his thriving hives (that he looks after himself) and the complexity of bees is astonishing. Each chamber of the hive has a different job; some bees making the waxy chambers of a honeycomb, others busying about sealing off the ready honey, others fetching and gathering pollen – now I understand where the term ‘busy bee’ comes from. It’s literally a hive of industry.Inside The Hive
While we gathered around the hive, we inadvertently blocked the entrance path to the hive – instead of going around us, the bees formed a kind of massive bee queue and let me tell you, when you turn round and see thousands of bees, slightly annoyed at having their day interrupted, there is nothing else that makes you move out of the way that quickly!The Queue Dies Down
Honey and bees are such a key part of the Melvita range – it’s at the core of absolutely everything they do.
Part two tomorrow.
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