Here is an Epicurean Raw Honey Hamper to delight all who enjoy honey. It adds gourmet flavours to everything, from simple fresh bread, toast and crumpets, to yoghurts and fruits, cheeses, and marinades for meats.
The honeys are all from Italy and Sicily. They are a joy and revelation for all who have grown accustomed to shop bought blended honey; and they are the source of huge personal pride to their passionate beekeepers, Mauro Pagliaccia in Tuscany and Michele Oliva and his family in Sicily.
Each honey is a single variety, raw and natural—not pasteurized nor filtered nor heated, which ruins most of the honey we buy in shops. In Italian it is known as Miele vergine integrale, virgin honey. The results are amazing. Delicious, creamy and fine textured, with delicate pure aromas and distinct yet subtle flavours that defy comparison, these honeys are capable of turning simple food into an epicurean feast.
The honeys were all discovered by an English family of connoisseurs, whose passion is in finding fine Italian country food and introducing it to us in the UK through their specialist company, Seggiano. First they discovered the honeys of Mauro Pagliaccia, a biology teacher at the local school, who became passionate about beekeeping and now has some 500 hives. This friendship led to Sicily, where six generations of Michele Oliva’s family have bred bees and harvested honey in the Iblei Mountains, specialising in the famous wild mountain thyme and citrus blossom. The honeys which Michele produces from the wild plants of Sicily are often in limited quantities. All the honeys, both from Mauro and Michele, are cold extracted by centrifuge, unfiltered, unpasteurised, and bottled by the respective families.
It is difficult to describe how good these gorgeous honeys taste—but we will try. Starting with Mauro’s world-famous acacia honey, harvested in spring in the valleys surrounding Civita di Bagnoregio. Here the dawn is permeated with the heady scent of acacia blossom, and from this nectar Mauro’s bees produce the limpid gold acacia honey, so delicious with fresh bread and toast. Then comes wildflower—Miele millefiori, or Honey of a thousand flowers—which comes from the bees pollinating spring-flowering fresh mint, lime, acacia and clover from the low-lying meadows; it is a delight served in the usual ways, with toast and fresh bread, and to marinate meats—and perfect to sweeten tea or cold drinks.
In high summer Mauro takes his beehives to the sunflower fields around Lake Bolsena to harvest the vibrant, opaque golden yellow sunflower honey which melts in the mouth, leaving a refreshing sensation of lemons. Next come Mauro’s exquisite tree honeys. From the sweet chestnut blossoms of southern Tuscany comes rich chestnut honey, its distinctive flavour sublime with thin slices of good pecorino cheese; added to yoghurt, it takes on the flavours of crême brulée, as does woodland honeydew, dark and thick as molasses and made, not from flower nectars but from the aromatic bark and leaf resins of woodland plants and trees. This tastes marvellous with fresh bread, toast or yoghurt, or with fresh ricotta or, again, slices of pecorino cheese. Eucalyptus, from the coastal plains north of Tarquinia, is smooth, thick and creamy especially good for the respiratory system (in fact, all the raw honeys have anti-oxidant properties), delicious with yoghurt, toast, crumpets or fresh bread.
Thence to Sicily, where the Olivas harvest their deliciously flavoured orange blossom honey, so marvelous for fresh bread, toast and crumpets, for baking and for salad dressings and glazing ham. It was here, 2,000 years ago, that Marcus Varro wrote of the thyme honey of Sicily being the best of all honeys, and perhaps it still is. The Olivas harvest wild thyme honey from the blooms covering the Sicilian hills. With its thick, fudge-like consistence and taste of thyme, it is food for the gods.
Each Honey Hamper contains eight 500g jars, one each of the above honeys, totalling 4 kilos. They are natural and keep very well. The hamper also makes a very much appreciated gift for a favourite honey lover or family of them!
Including free delivery to your door (mainland UK). RRP £90. CCUK £69. 4 kilos (8 jars x 500g)