Brezzo produces many varieties of Italian honey, but also selects a number of gems from other countries – rare honeys with unique properties. If it’s true that the start of every new year brings changes and discoveries, make room in your pantry for these truly special new products and enjoy new ways of expressing sweetness!
MANUKA, THE THERAPEUTIC HONEY
Manuka honey is derived from the Manuka tree (Leptospermum Scoparium), which is native to New Zealand. Manuka is the Maori name for a shrub which flourishes in the drier, more barren parts of the islands. It is similar to the tea tree, an evergreen with highly scented pink and white flowers that bloom from May to September. This honey has been much studied by the scientific community as it has proven health benefits, especially antibacterial properties.
MGO, a powerful ally for health
The Manuka shrub grows in remote, unspoilt areas where man’s presence is rare. To fight diseases, it has developed antibacterial and antifungal compounds which are found in the nectar and pollen gathered by bees and transfer naturally to the honey. The most important compound is methylglyoxal – or MGO – an active ingredient present in quantities 100 times greater than in normal honeys. Combined with other components, MGO has powerful antibacterial, cicatrizing and anti-inflammatory properties
In order to be labelled as “Manuka”, the honey must contain at least 70% Leptospermum Scoparium pollen, the scientific name for the Manuka shrub, which is why it is rare and sought-after. Its health benefits are proven – it is indicated in cases of poor digestion and gastric or esophageal ulcers, as well as to fortify the immune system against various types of infection, especially of a respiratory nature. A teaspoon of Manuka honey taken a couple of times a day will ensure its health benefits. Its antibacterial properties mean that Manuka honey with a higher concentration can be used undiluted on wounds to aid sterilization and cicatrization.
Brezzo offers two types of Manuka: the first with a 135mg/kg Methylglyoxal content, the second with no less than a 270mg/kg content.
Ulmo honey derives from the flowers of the Eucryphia Cordifolia tree – commonly called Ulmo – native to Chile. It is a large evergreen tree that can reach 30 metres in height. It grows in the Valdivian temperate rain forests around the Chilean Lake District. From January to March, the Ulmo produces large white flowers similar to camellias. During blossom time, in areas where it is widespread, the slopes of the mountains are covered with a mantle of beautiful white flowers that looks like snow.
A unique flavour
Ulmo honey is characterized by fine crystallization and a very creamy consistency. Amber in colour and fragrant with hints of fruit and medicinal herbs, the aromatic profile mirrors the fragrance, recalling delicate hints of ripe fruit and aniseed, jasmine, vanilla, clove and caramel notes.
Like Manuka honey, Ulmo honey also has antibacterial properties. Studies carried out at the Pontifical University of Chile in Santiago have shown that Ulmo honey helps fight insidious bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Escherichia Coli, which are sometimes resistant to antibiotics. In vitro studies have shown that Ulmo honey is able to inhibit the growth of some pathogenic bacteria, and to have a fungicidal and fungostatic action.
The recommended dose of this honey is also a teaspoon or two a day, preferably in the morning.
BRAZILIAN COFFEE HONEY
Coffee honey is somewhat rare and sought-after. It comes from Brazil (but is also found in Columbia), where hives are situated close to coffee plantations, and the bees feed only on the nectar and pollen of these plants. Originally tending towards amber, it takes on a lighter colour and a creamy consistency once crystallized.
The flavour is truly unique since Coffee honey contains small quantities of caffeine and other substances, and is the factor that distinguishes it from all the other varieties. To the typically sweet note of honey, it adds a delicate and persistent aftertaste of coffee and barley. A real treat for aficionados.
Bees are good for coffee (and for those who grow it).
A study by the Smithsonian Institute for Tropical Research has shown that locating beehives near coffee plantations contributes to an increase in production. When insect pollinators are present, the weight of coffee beans increase by 7%, which can reach as much as 25% if the pollinators are bees. Finally, if adequately popularized, coffee honey could become an excellent additional income for coffee-picker cooperatives, and at the same time contribute to preserving biodiversity.
We end this medley of rare, international honeys with Lavender honey. Gathered in Provence between June and July, it is without doubt one of the most sought-after honeys to be found on the market. Pale yellow in colour, crystallization is rapid with fine crystals, and the soft, creamy consistency is very agreeable to the palate.
A delicate flavour
This honey’s characteristic note comes from the fragrance, which recalls lavender flowers, and the delicate, creamy flavour. Given its distinctive aromatic profile, this honey pairs well with medium-mature cheeses – Montasio, Caprino, but also Sardinian and Sicilian Pecorino. It is also excellent spread on bread or a crispbread for a tasty, fragrant breakfast.