If you’ve ever relished the authentic Gozitan honey, you know already that this precious product is second to none. Malta and Gozo have a long history when it comes to the honey industry and some say that the very namesake Malta, is derived from the Greek and Roman term for honey.
Today we’re looking at some curious facts about Gozitan honey!
- One can find different varieties of honey that present themselves in distinct textures and colours. The colour of the honey originates from the type of nectar that the bees feed on. This in turn depends on the season or month of the year. For example, a darker and stronger type of honey can be the result of honey bees feeding on wild thyme during the summer season.
- In Gozo bees forage on a range of different flowers like the prickly pear blossoms, the orange tree blossoms, the eucalyptus and the flora that is found in the wild. Another notorious plant is the clover that grows in the wild, on the slopes of the Gozitan hills. The clover yields a lightly coloured honey.
Clover is one of the plants that bees feed on.
- Beekeepers are found all over Gozo and if you’re out hiking you might even spot bee hives in fields. However, the tradition of beekeeping seems to be strongest at the hilltop villages of Xagħra and Nadur. The beekeeping tradition is an age-old tradition and it is often handed down through the family. If you’re interested in it, the first requirement is naturally not being afraid of the bees! The second requires a true passion as there is a lot to learn in order to take on beekeeping.
- It is also interesting to note that in Gozo, beekeepers still rear the Maltese honey bee, the Apis mellifera ruttneri, a black bee that is native to our islands and substantial efforts are being made to sustain the population of such bee colonies.
- If food is scarce and foraging in their home base leads scanty results, bees are known to wander off up to 7 miles in radius from their home hive. On an island that is approximately 8.7 miles in length and 4.5 miles in width, this means that Gozitan bees can cover a lot of the island!
Honey is not only delicious but it considered as a nutritional food with a high energetic value. Drizzled on fruits or roped in desserts, baked treats, sauces, dips but also in main dishes, it gives a delectable taste of sweetness. It is also used in many home remedies and since time immemorial, it has been a key beauty product for skin and hair treatments.
Look out for authentic Gozitan honey from honeybees’ producers or from select gourmet stores!