Melissa: the prestige of Calabrian wine culture


Among the most interesting wines of Calabria you can find “Melissa”, a protected denomination wine (so called DOC), which enriches cuisine and gastronomy with its historically recognized prestige. A relic of ancient winemaking of Magna Grecia, but still today appreciated for the excellent organoleptic characteristics, obtained by only Gaglioppo grapes.


The vineyards are placed in Cirò, Cirò Marina, Crucoli e Melissa Districts, where Gaglioppo  grapes find optimal conditions, thanks to a soil rich of nutrients, to a tempered climate, the long sun exposition and…to the wonderful people living here.

The central territory of production is Torre Melissa, in the very heart of that Calabrian zone indicated as “Alto Ionio Calabrese”, with an area of 54.800 hectares, where this nectar is so named after “Melisseus”, an ancient prince of Crete or after “Melissa” municipality (in turn named after the Cretan prince who is said to have founded it).

The vineyards lie on the east-facing hills or close to the coast, so near to the sea that this makes Ciro and Melissa the lowest-lying viticultural areas in Calabria. Here, Melissa wines are either red or white (the latter type is effectively vanishing from production). The white wine comes from the grapes of Greco Bianco, Trebbiano and/or Malvasia Bianca.

The sea is near to the terroir here, and the marine cooling and heating of the land causes morning and afternoon breezes, which exclude the risk of fungal vine diseases.  The terroir is quite the same of Cirò DOC, in many cases, therefore this Ciro’s neighbors can enjoy quality and success of its winemaking.

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.


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.


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.