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Arbutus, asphodel, thistle

The honeys of Mount Arci

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Where is

Sardegna

Monte Arci, 09090 Morgongiori OR, Italia (779m s.l.m.)

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Since the time of Aristeus

"Sardinia, island of shepherds": it is an oxymoron that well describes its unique human geography. A concept, this one, that should be extended from sheep, undisputed primacy, to bees, since again it is a farming that has been documented there since the Punic age, when the first hives were made from cork elbows.

The most extraordinary evidence of Sardinian beekeeping, however, is from the Roman period: a bronze statuette of Aristeus, described by Virgil as the demigod son of Apollo and Cyrene who taught man the art of making cheese and oil, and the way to raise bees for honey and wax. But there is more, for Aristeus was at home in Sardinia, even credited with the founding of Karalis, today's Cagliari, reasoning that it is legitimate to think of island honey as a true ambrosia.

01-miele.jpgBronzetto of Aristeus

From flower to flower

Honey, it is known, is a mirror of the blooms attended by bees, and in Sardinia, an island of extraordinary flora, with more than 200 melliferous species, one can only expect wonders. The first thought is for the arbutus, the most fascinating tree in the Mediterranean maquis, and what results is a honey with an intense, bitter flavor. Then, from the sunny pastures,asphodel honey and thistle honey , each with its own floral note. Moving on to millefiori, in the past ritually extracted for St. John's Day, June 24, wild lavender as the most characteristic component of a delicate bouquet that includes rosemary, thyme, myrtle, thistle, asphodel, heather, cistus, viper grass... To finish with cultivated essences: unmistakable, the orange and eucalyptus honeys; delicate, that of sulla.

02-fiori.jpgSardinia's sweetest gold.

On the table.

Described each type in terms of aroma and intensity, then one could make an academy on the subject of pairings, dairy products and island cheeses in primis, from ricotta to aged pecorino, produced on a scale of flavors appropriate to the exuberance of the island flora, uniqueness of flavor chosen by counterpoint, i.e., mild honey - spicy cheese or vice versa, bitter honey - mild cheese. Dulcis in fundo, it really has to be said, connected to honey is then the very special island confectionery, including nougats and candied fruit. The beauty of Sardinia is that in village stores you can always find locally produced honey, a sort of implicit invitation to leave the streets to discover the territories.

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