These Ligurian bees are a long way from home

It makes sense that foods become associated with the place of their origin. If the place association becomes lost, the food can morph into something else or fade into obscurity. Or, it can retain the name and the legacy even though it’s farm from its birthplace. That is the case with Ligurian honey, as Gastro Obscura reports

honey pikelets

Highly prized by ancient Romans, Ligurian honey was produced by a specific honeybee that called the Italian Alps its home. Due to interbreeding and disease, the purebred Ligurian bees have been eliminated from their homeland in the intervening centuries. However, they did not completely disappear, thanks to intrepid sailors, who established an apiary on a remote island off the coast of Australia. 

Kangaroo Island is now the only place where Ligurian bees exist. The island is considered a sanctuary for the insects, and Australian laws protect the bees by tightly regulating visitors to the island. People who come to the island cannot bring bees, honey, pollen, or used beekeeping tools unless they have official clearance. 

Because the honey reflects not only the bees’ genetic fingerprints but also the flora that they pollinate, the honey produced by these Ligerian bees probably tastes vastly different than what the ancient Romans delighted in eating. However, it’s still a delicious delicacy – and an interesting story to tell your guests if you can get your hands on a bottle of the stuff. 

Photo of Honey pikelets from Delicious Magazine (Aus)

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