Thanks to the great amount of biodiversity on the Island of Elba, hence the wide variety of plant biology from which the bees can collect the pollen, and thanks to the care on behalf of the Elba beekeepers, the honey made in Elba can be considered one of the best and most delicious in the entire territory of Tuscany.
You can go from the sweet and very clear Wildflower honey - the beehives are surrounded by the Mediterranean bush - to the more bitter and not as thick Chestnut one, to the the ones that are more sought after and less common like those made with Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Thistle, Heather and Strawberry- Trees or even Lavender and Helichrysum.
The typical honey made in Elba is very substantial and rich, and is perfect if eaten along with fresh, soft cheeses.
Interesting fact: the [page id="638"flag of Elba[/page] is white with a diagonal, red cross on which there are three gold coloured bees.The flag was given to the Island by Napoleon when he arrived there and it was used for the entire length of his exile while he was the ruler, that is from May 4th 1814 to February 26th 1815. It seems the meaning of the flag chosen by the Emperor portrays the simple and genuine nature of the people from Elba, always keen to reap the fruits of this land as well as being keen workers.The people from Elba are hard workers just like bees, are as sweet as honey and as strong as the rock the Island stands on.
Let's start with the pollen collected by the bees from the flowers of the chestnut trees that grow mostly in all the western part of Elba, the honey is truly unique. Chestnut honey is infact one of the true specialities from Elba that comes mostly from the beehives in and around Marciana.
Chestnut honey is one of the darker honeys because in actual fact it has a very dark brown, almost black colour. The perfume is very strong and almost overwhelming and the flavour is certainly unique, slightly bitter and truly decisive.
This honey is greatly appreciated because it is perfec when enjoyed along with full flavoured dishes and it is also ideal with meat, game and mature cheeses as well as lightly smoked foods.
It tends to be slightly runny and it rarely crystallizes because it has more fructose than glucose. When it does crystallize, the process is slow and not always homogeneous.
Chestnut honey is rich in beneficial properties which make it an absolute cure-all for good health.
Strawberry-tree honey is probably the best known honey from Elba, and this bitter-sweet honey came as a surprise to the palates at the time of Cicerone and Virgil.
Straeberry-tree honey has a very intense golden colour but when it crystallizes it tends to become more of a hazel nut brown, and this somewhat quick process gives it a fine, soft consistency. Strawberry-tree honey has a very unique and unusual smell that is rather difficult to describe, and the first time you smell it the smell you will reminded of ground coffee or even a somewhat strong smell of ivy leaves, and as soon as you taste it you will be struck by its strong, rather bitter taste, because the unique flavour of this honey completely dominates that of the sugar.
The smell and taste of strawberry-tree honey are like those of no other honey.
that in cuisine can be used in a variety of different ways; for example, it can be enjoyed with strong cheeses like pecorino, or mature lard, ice cream, or white chocolate mousses, and you can rest assured that your guests will be very surprised by the unexpected contrast of flavours.
Hint from Infoelba:we suggest the Ballini Farm if you are looking for a honey producing firm because their Rosemary honey was classed as the best honey in Italy at the famous national contest in Montalcino. Their families of bees are in over twenty different areas in Elba, and the queen bees are sold all over Europe and abroad too.
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