Stanley Tucci met with our honey producer Luigi Manias for his CNN show “Searching for Italy”. Fittingly featured in the “Sardegna” episode, Luigi led Stanley through a tasting of his exceedingly rare Corbezzolo honey. “E un miele amaro!” (it’s a bitter honey!”), he explains to a disconcerted Stanley, “one of the rarest and most difficult to understand”.
A Rare, Bitter Honey
Corbezzolo honey is renowned for its strangely bitter, almost tannic characteristics. It has notes of leather, licorice, smoke, and even balsamic vinegar. Consequently, this potent honey pairs particularly well with other strong flavors. Think red meat, aged cheese, and black coffee. To the delight of Stanley and his crew, Luigi paired Corbezzolo honey with slow-roasted lamb in a traditional Sardinian recipe “s’immulzu de su bandidu”, “the bandit’s breakfast”. The only ingredients are lamb, salt, and a liberal wash of Corbezzolo honey spread across the meat using a fresh, fragrant myrtle sprig. No additional seasonings are necessary. Luigi and Stanley both concur: “It’s a perfect combination”.
Corbezzolo honey is so limited because the bees have to work extra hard to harvest the nectar. Corbezzolo trees themselves have especially finicky flowers! First of all, their bell-shape is difficult for the bees to enter and they each produce a very small amount of nectar. Secondly, they only bloom following certain climatic conditions, during the windiest and rainiest time of year. Luigi’s Corbezzolo honey is all the more renowned as his bees forage exclusively in Monti Arci Regional National Park. This means the flowers are completely organic and uncontaminated by the airborne pollutants of more urban areas.
Cooking with Corbezzolo
Ready to get cooking with Corbezzolo honey? Go ahead and spread it liberally across roast lamb or beef for your interpretation of s’immulzu de su bandidu. Alternatively, if you’re craving something vegetarian, try it in our butternut squash caponata. Whatever you do, be like Luigi and stir some into your morning coffee. Coffee and Corbezzolo is one of our favorite pairings!