Chestnut Honey from Dolce Alveare
Chestnut honey has a strong aromatic nose and a bitter after taste. It is loaded with pollen, mineral salts and tannins, with a high proportion of fructose that resists crystallization. It has a low acidity. Very dark in color, ranging from clear brown to almost black-brown with amber hues, it has a woody, pungent dry herb aroma and taste with a slightly tannic finish
8.8 oz. jar
The chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) is common throughout Europe where it was introduced from Sardis (today’s Turkey) thousands of years ago. Once it was called Sardinian Nut, now simply chestnut. Italian chestnut trees blossom from May to June. The chestnut tree is in the family of beeches and oaks. For thousands of years and still today, the chestnut is a primary source of nutrition for people living in the mountainous areas of Italy, taking the place of grains and potatoes in many dishes.
It is excellent drizzled over fresh cheeses (Stracchino, Ricotta) or better yet over very aged and blue cheeses (particularly Gorgonzola Dolcelatte). Try it the drizzled over Pecorino Toscano and sliced fresh pears. Ideal for gelato making: substitute the sugar in the basic vanilla gelato recipe with chestnut honey. Drizzle over vanilla ice-cream for a stunning flavor contrast.
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The small town of Zafferana Etnea sits on the Eastern slope of majestic Mount Etna, overlooking the ancient town of Taormina and the deep blue Ionian Sea. The foothills of Europe’s most active volcano are covered with orchards of lemon and orange trees as well as a thick forest of chestnut and pine.
Zafferana Etnea is famous throughout Italy as the capital of honey because the area’s combined production accounts for 15 % of the total Italian honey production. In 1997, the “Cooperativa Apicoltori Siciliani” (Co.A.Si - Co-op of Sicilian beekeepers), was created by a consortium of small beekeepers from the surrounding area to pool their honeycomb and process the honey in a new, state-of-the-art facility. The bounty of their bee’s production is then put jars under the label Dolce Alveare. The main objective of the cooperative is to promote the spread of beekeeping among the local population by making it a viable enterprise for each participant with the sales of their production.
The bees spend the sunny, dry Autumn months amongst the blossoming organic lemon and orange farms from which they produce two fragrant honeys: Lemon Blossom and Orange Blossom. Dolce Alveare honeys are very thick in consistency and have a long, sweet, “citrusy” finish.
Honey is utilized as a spread on top of toast, as well as a sweetener for any beverage. In Sicily, honey is used as a substitute for sugar in making desserts such as biscotti, cakes or to glaze an almond tart. Honey is revered in Italy for its health qualities when eaten raw.