Arbutus of Calabria

24.7.2019

The Arbutus tree, which is also called albatross, is a fruit tree belonging to the Ericaceae family. The Latin denomination of “Arbutus unedo” (from unum = one more edo = mangio) is due to Pliny the Elder, who in his Naturalis Historia maintained that the fruit was tasteless and that therefore, after having eaten one, no one wished them any more.

Esotic and quotidian

It is widespread in the western Mediterranean countries and on the southern coasts of Ireland. The fruits are called in Italian “corbezzolo” or sometimes “albatro” (albatross).

The same shrub can simultaneously host flowers and ripe fruits, for its particular maturation cycle.

Magnificent colors

This, together with the fact of being evergreen, makes it particularly ornamental, due to the presence on the tree of three bright colors: the red of the fruits, the white of the flowers and the green of the leaves.

FEATURES

Leaves, fruits, flowers and roots of the strawberry tree all have medicinal properties.

The arbutus is useful as a diuretic, antispasmodic and antidiarrheal. It is useful not only against persistent diarrhea, but also to solve cystitis and to  heal wounds, due to disinfectant, balsamic and antispasmodic action of its shrub.

The leaves in particular have marked antiseptic qualities capable of helping the liver and biliary work. Further, the strawberry tree has a strong disinfectant power on the skin and is also useful in the case of inflammations, especially of the urogenital system. Especially due to its leaves, which are rich in tannins, aromatic resins, phenolic derivatives and essential oils.

Delicious honey of “Corbezzolo”

GASTRONOMY

A special product obtained from the arbutus is “arbutus honey” which has the same balsamic, antiseptic, antispasmodic and diuretic properties of the leaves, fruits and roots.

Honey of Calabria

29.6.2018

 

DELICIOUS HONEY OF CALABRIA

A must of Calabrian food is Honey, a delicious product, an authentic mediterranean piece of culture.

Main types of honey in Calabria are the following:

  • Wildflowers – ‘Miele Millefiori’
  • Eucalyptus – ‘Miele di eucalpito’
  • Fir Honeydew (Spruce & Fir)
  • Orange Blossom Calabrian
  • Strawberry Tree
  • Bergamot Flavored Honey
  • Bergamot Honey
  • Citrus – Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit
  • Chestnut Calabrian
  • Orange Tree Honey Calabrian
  • Spicy Flavored Wild Flower Honey.

Generally, it is used for the preparation of traditional sweets (Pignolata, Mustaccioli, etc…), but orange blossom Honey is employed also in folk medicine (bronchial infections). Only in recently honey has been characterized and appreciated as monofloral.

Main places of production are Amaroni (Catanzaro) Italy and San Ferdinando (Reggio Calabria), where honey is of a ‘clear’ or ‘dark’ quality.

 

CHESTNUT HONEY

This kind of honey  is perfect  with  Pecorino cheeses or with semi aged Pecorino, flavoured with Balsamic Vinegar.

The production comes from a very big diffusion of the chestnut trees, which often represent the wilder part of the region, both far from the sea and best-preserved. The rich woods of Chestnut cover great extensions of the land.

This environment is pure and without traces of pollution, so that in summer swarms of bees release tons of wonderful nectar, which is perfect for delicious contrasts between aged cheeses and meat dishes.

Namely, this honey is full of impalpable grains of chestnut pollen and these give it a flavor decidedly particular, moderately sweet and bitter aftertaste.

The presence of pollen is due to the chestnut blossom, not particularly beautiful, but long with a sharp smell, sticky to the touch, rich in pollen and nectar, which, depending, on the altitude is everywhere in the months of June and July.

The outcome is a Chestnut honey very rich in fructose, which crystallizes only after a long time, dark  (from brown to black), strong, intense, tannic and woody.

 

“MILLEFIORI” HONEY

Usually, this treasure of thousand of flowers, patiently elaborated by swarms of bees, is moderately sweet and wonderful  with semi aged Pecorino, for example Mount Poro or Pecorino of Crotone.

The quality of this clear honey comes from a slow creation by spontaneous roaming of bees collecting the nectar from several floral sources.

The wildflower meadows of Calabria are the place where bees search wildflower floral sources. The natural conditions vary during the year, so that the taste of wildflower honey slightly differs from year to year.