This honey is bitter. Luigi Manias’s raw corbezzolo honey will change everything you thought you knew about honey. While it hits the palate with a deceptive sweetness, corbezzolo soon reveals its pungent secret: this honey is bitter.
On the rocky wind-swept hills of Sardinia, corbezzolo honey is made from the Arbutus Unedo, which in English is often called the strawberry tree, because it produces a fruit similar to strawberries. It blooms for only three months of the year, and produces about half as much nectar as other flowers, so corbezzolo honey is considered very rare and precious.
Like all honey, miele di corbezzolo has both homeopathic and culinary uses. It is considered a treatment for coughs and sore throats, and is the world’s oldest sweetener. But with its aromas of herbs, coffee and smokiness, corbezzolo honey is a perfect match for ricotta and other young, creamy cheeses. Drizzle it over fruit, gelato, or pastries for a subtle flavor contrast. It also is the perfect companion to fall squash dishes, like this butternut squash caponata.
Sometimes corbezzolo honey crystalizes. Crystalization is totally normal and natural; actually, it is a sign of an excellent-quality raw honey. If your honey is crystalized but you'd prefer it to be liquid, just gently heat it up in a bain-marie and stir until it transforms into liquid.
Its rich vegetation and lack of pollution make Sardinia the perfect honey-producing region – it is believed that beekeeping has been a tradition on the island since at least the 17th century.