The honey of the Hyblaean Mountains

Posted on Feb 04, 2016 by Kathryn Burrington

Blog > The honey of the Hyblaean Mountains

In the Hyblaean Mountains in the south-east of Sicily, bees gather around the flowers collecting nectar before flying back to the hives of Emanuele Agosta.

For over 20 years now Emanuele has kept bees in the foothills of the mountains. He’s passionate about them and the honey they produce, and for those lucky enough to try it, it’s easy to taste why.

With a few puffs of smoke to calm the bees, he’s showing us his hives. The smoke also alerts the bees to his presence, he explains, so they are not taken by surprise. “They are not as aggressive as people think” he continues “but if I’m in a bad mood I stay away. I don’t work with the bees then, as they will sense my aggression.”

Above: the larger queen bee is marked with a pale green spot

In their onsite shop there are numerous varieties to try – Emanuele moves the hives with the seasons so that the bees collect from certain plants at certain times of the year. Also for sale is an excellent honey hand-cream, made by his wife, as well as a honey ointment that is great for skin complaints. The health benefits of honey are well known. It’s said to alleviate allergies, boost memory, suppress coughs, aid sleep and treat minor wounds and burn. Emanuele tells me how it aids digestion and goes beautifully with meat or fried fish. Personally I particularly love it with an aged Italian hard cheese.

Under the shade of an autumn flowering carob tree, we sit down to a picnic of fresh bread, a range of cheeses and numerous varieties of Emanuele’s honey - chestnut, lemon, thyme - but it’s the carob that blows me away with its distinctive taste and tones of chocolate and herbs.

Above: Carob pods

When I finally leave Sicily, later that week, a pot of carob (carruba) Miele dei Monti Iblei di Agosta Emanuele had found its way into my suitcase but I need to go back for more.

For holidays to this bountiful region of Sicily visit our website for a range of beautfiul villas and hotels in the Vale Di Noto and the South East.



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