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Honey, the nectar of gods and humans

There is perhaps no food as emblematic as the honey, in the vast world of culinary culture, whose proverbial sweetness has filled pages and pages of literature, popular knowledge, and mythology.

Yes, because the relationship of honey with man is lost in the mists of time, and the complexity of organoleptic qualities, the richness of its therapeutic properties have made it an authentic myth, a source of inspiration for poets, a metaphor for Mother Nature’s pleasure and generosity toward humans.

Bee-keeping, from improvised technique to the art of nurturing

Although man has known and used honey for over 12 thousand years, and although he understood its infinite qualities long before having tested them with a scientific method, it’s almost only from recent times thatbeekeeping has become that “gentle” process of bee care we know today.

In the past, humans collected honeycombs with honey, pollen, and brood from the wild hives, chasing away adult bees with smoke and worrying little about the survival of the sacked bee family. The next step was creating artificial shelters, which represented more or less improvised artisan solutions, made with the most diverse materials (straw or hollow trees in many European areas, terracotta in the southern Mediterranean, and the near east, cork in Sardinia).

It’s only from the second half of the nineteenth century that we know the modern age regarding beekeeping. The invention of the so-called rational beehive, Lorenzo Langstroth of Filadelfia finally allows a gentle manipulation of bees thanks to the frames on which insects are invited to build their honeycombs. Moreover, the fact that these frames (or frames) can be dismantled makes it possible to check and “open” the hive without causing damage to the occupants.

The rational hive can also, depending on the need, increase or decrease in size, adapting to the bee family that hosts it. By adding or removing modules, the beekeeper makes the environment where the different families stay comfortable, encouraging them not to move. This is the basis of modern beekeeping: if the house never becomes too small, the bee family will increase production more and more.

Honey, a precious good to defend and protect

Unfortunately, in recent years beekeepers have had to sound the alarm: about 68% of the population buys honey of uncertain origin in supermarkets, collaborating in the impoverishment of art, that of beekeeping, whose care is of fundamental importance for an infinity of reasons.

The first signs of the brutal death of bees date back to the early 2000s. Among others, the causes are to be found in intensive crops, which do not take into account the primary needs of these precious insects, subjected to considerable stress due to incorrect beekeeping practices. The pollution caused by the use of insecticides in intensive agriculture is a further determining factor.

Therefore, it is essential to support those who have made beekeeping a passion and a profession, which is moved by a genuine love for one of the most poetic – and valuable – professions in the world. As consumers, reading the labels, ascertaining the origin, inquiring about beekeeping practices are all beneficial activities to slow down one of the most worrying phenomena of our planet if we consider that over 35% of food production worldwide depends on bees.

Italian honey, symbol of biodiversity

Perhaps not everyone knows that as regards honey, Italy holds the world record of varieties produced. Over 50 types of monofloreal honey and an infinity of Millefiori beautifully tell the richness of biodiversità that populates the Bel Paese, crowned with the priority of European country with the highest number of species: about half of those plants and a third of those animals currently present in Europe.

Learning about honey is like opening a treasure chest guarded by Mother Nature herself. Recognizing the organoleptic characteristics, the type of crystallization, the production methods is comparable to reading a beautifully illustrated atlas, which tells us how many secrets are hidden in knowing how to collaborate with one of the fascinating creatures of the animal kingdom: the bee.

And since in our shop we have some of the most delicious and sought after kinds of honey in Italy and the world, the result of the passionate work of two producers such as Mieli Thun and theMario Bianco company, scrupulous in the production of a food of excellence that takes into account the welfare of bees and the protection of the territory in which they operate, here is some information in a nutshell to learn more about some types of honey.

The list is neither exhaustive nor too detailed, but it will serve to give a glance at the incredible variety and richness of this food. However, if your curiosity is not fully satisfied, do not hesitate to find out more about our producers Mieli Thun and Mario Bianco and their products. You will meet a lot of love for the land they operate and infinite awareness of the importance of sustainable beekeeping. In both cases, bees are brought to chosen and uncontaminated places in the period of maximum flowering, with great attention to the traditional relationship of man with the art of beekeeping.

Chesnut Honey
  • It’s produced from the flowers of the chestnut tree, which grows in hilly and pre-alpine areas from 300 to 1200 meters above sea level.
  • It comes in a dark amber color, with reddish-greenish tones.
  • The taste has a long, persistent bitterish finish.
  • It crystallizes in liquid form, which remains for a long time.
Honey from te Tree of Heaven
  • Honey produced in May from the flowers of the Tree of Paradise or Alianto, so-called due to the high height it reaches even in a few years, is considered a weed; it has an absolute oriental beauty and charm.
  • Honey with great personality, creamy, deep golden color.
  • To the taste, it has precise references of muscat grapes and peach syrup, lychee fruit the most special memory, umami hints on the finish that recall fresh mushroom.
  • It is excellent for prolonged cooking up to gel peaches, apricots, or melon in pieces, unique in fruit salads, caramelizing a flambé pineapple, marries fruit with great confidence in the kitchen. Perfect with dill for marinating amberjack or salmon as gravlax.
Forest Honey
  • It differs from other kinds of honey because it doesn’t derive from the nectar of flowers but from the honeydew, a sugary substance that bees find on tree species (oaks, locust trees, beeches, ailanthus, poplars, willows), shrubs (brambles), or herbaceous (nettle, clovers).
  • The taste is marked in tones of carob, rhubarb, and green tomato jam with an aftertaste of cooked cane sugar.
  • Generally, it crystallizes slowly and in the presence of sunflower nectar and goldenrod.
  • It is excellent for breakfast in the kitchen combined with white yogurt and dried fruit, condiments, finish the bbq, or prepare sauces. A few drops on boiled carrots sautéed with cumin are a show or bread with butter or Evo. Ideal in sweet or savory preparations with dark spices and prolonged cooking of lake meat or fish.
Acacia Honey
  • It is produced in April and May, starting from Acacia flowers.
  • Almost transparent to pale straw yellow color.
  • It always comes in liquid form. It has a very low crystallization rate, thanks to the high concentration of fructose compared to glucose.
  • On the olfactory examination, it has a floral scent of weak intensity.
  • With a delightful taste, it has a delicate aroma, typically vanilla.