“Beach” Honey: The Sweet Flavour of the Sea
Versilia is the place of origin the so-called Beach Honey, whose fragrance is enhanced by the curry plant essential oils. It is collected by a few beekeepers belonging to a small, environmentally friendly consortium, known as “Il Camuciuolo”.
“Beach” Honey was first conceived twenty years ago when beekeeper Patrizio Castorina, aware of the large quantity of flowers thriving along the Versilia coastline, decided to take his bees to the seaside, where they could feed on Helichrysum italicum, commonly known as “curry plant”, a yellow-coloured plant growing on rocky or sandy ground around the Mediterranean. The essential oils of this flower gives the honey its distinctive fragrance. The exact location of the beehives is La Lecciona, Torre del Lago, in the province of Lucca. The experiment was supported by the Regional Park and supervised by the Tuscan Honey Association. The result is a high-quality honey, whose quantity, however, varies yearly. Although production has extended to other areas over time, beach honey remains a niche product.
Organoleptic properties of beach honey
The distinctive features of beach honey are the intense fragrance and strong taste caused by the essential oils of the curry plants and other Mediterranean flowers on which the bees feed on, including tamarisk, lavender cotton, yucca, woundwort, lupin, bramble and rockrose. This results in a unique, granular, wildflower honey. The essential oils have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Of liquid consistency upon harvesting, it crystallises and thickens as the temperature decrease, due to the prevalence of glucose over fructose.
Il Camuciolo Consortium
The consortium Il Camuciolo was created in 2000. It was named after the local term for curry plant. In order to protect the bees from any form of pollution, the hives were transferred to an area close by. All the beekeepers are extremely meticulous about the well-being of the bees. For this reason, they have implemented organic practices for the prevention of bee diseases. Since the bees do not swarm or collect nectar from flowers beyond the boundaries of the farm, the resulting beach honey is of pristine quality.