Calabria Honey

Calabria – ‘Il miele della Calabria’

Calabria [English] is the ‘toe’ of the boot of Italy. it is a mainly mountainous area surrounded by beautiful seas lapping up on idyllic beaches. With an almost uncountable number of food or ‘sagra’ festivals celebrated in tiny villages to major cities, the food lover will find a festival for almost every type of food. From onions, omelets, chili peppers, eggplants, chocolate, chestnuts, ice cream, pasta, oranges, pork and much more. A noteworthy food festival is the Festival of Cod in Mammola in August – ‘Sagre dello stocco[English] celebrating the famous salt cod of Calabria. Also known for bergamot production, the first orchard was grown in 1750, it is one of the finest sources of bergamot essence in the world.

Calabria is centrally dominated by the Silia, a mountainous plateau and historic region. The Sila houses the National Park of the same name, the Parco Nazionale della Sila [English], formerly called National Park of Calabria and created in 2002. It is a protected ecological area totaling 182,000 acres (73,700 hectares). Also see the Aspromonte National Park [English] – ‘Parco Nazionale dell’Aspromonte‘ famous for its Valley of the Stones [English] – ‘Valle delle Grandi Pietre’. All parks and protected areas in Calabria [English] cover almost 2200 sq. miles (5687 sq. km)

Calabria is well suited for honey production with its wealth of woods, pastures and citrus groves, it the sixth largest region in Italy for honey production. Unlike many countries with ‘factory’ farming, Calabria’s farm industry is made up of small, family owned farms of average size of about 25 acres (10 hectares). Most farms have hives although it is not uncommon to find beekeepers who practice nomadic beekeeping, moving the hives to areas of the most suitable flowers. Honey can be purchased directly from the farms or local markets.

As in much of Italy, honey in Calabria was historically used for the preparation of traditional sweets (Pignolata, Mustaccioli Syrians etc…) and Orange Blossom Honey for nougat, or used in folk medicine; for example, bronchial infections. Honey was distinguished only as ‘clear’ and ‘dark’. It is only in recent years that honey has been characterized and appreciated as monofloral.

Honey Cities:

Amaroni (Cosenza) Italy
San Ferdinando (Reggio Calabria) Italy

  • Bergamot Flavored Honey – ‘Miele aromatizzato al Bergamotto’ – (Flavored with Citrus bergamia Risso)Be careful when buying Bergamot Honey that you know what you are getting.
  • Bergamot Honey – ‘Miele di bergamotto’ – (Citrus bergamia Risso)
  • Citrus – Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit – ‘Miele di agrumi, Miele di limoni’ (Citrus spp.)
  • Chestnut Calabrian Certified Traditional Food of Italy – ‘Miele di castagno Calabrese’ (Castanea sativa Mill)
  • Eucalyptus – Red River Gum Certified Traditional Food of Italy – ‘Miele di eucalpito’ (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh)
  • Fir Honeydew (Spruce & Fir) Certified Traditional Food of Italy – ‘Melata d’abete’ (Fir: Abies alba and Red Spruce: Picea excelsa) (Insects: Cinara costate, C. piceae, Physokermes hemicryphus)
  • Orange Blossom Calabrian – ‘Miele di zagara Calabrese’ (Not just orange blossoms but blossoms of Citrus:Orange, bergamot, lemon, mandarin)
  • Orange Tree Honey Calabrian Certified Traditional Food of Italy –‘Miele di Arancio Calabrese’ (Citrus aurantium)
  • Spicy Flavored Wild Flower Honey – “Miele piccante al peperoncino” (Flavored with chilies grown in Calabria – Capsicum annuum L.)
  • Sulla Calabrian Certified Traditional Food of Italy (aka Spanish sainfoin, French honeysuckle, Sweetvetch) – ‘Miele di sulla Calabrese’ (Hedysarum coronarium L.)
  • Wildflowers – ‘il Miele Millefiori’

Less Common/Rare or limited production:

  • Strawberry Tree Certified Traditional Food of Italy – ‘Miele di corbezzolo’ (Arbutus unedo L.)

Certified Traditional Food of Italy PAT – Honey certified as a Traditional Italian Food.
Slow Food Icon Honey identified and cataloged by the Arc of Taste (Slow Foods)
References and Further Reading

Italian – Calabria Region, Italy
Italian – Calabrian Beekeepers Consortium

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