The social structure of a beehive is mesmerizing, to say the least. This is a world of very hard working ladies, run by a Queen who is equally hardworking putting to nest 2000 new "working class" bees a in the summer time. The Queen is a sort of "democratically elected monarch". If the Queen is not deemed suited to "govern" the colony it is killed and disposed of. If the Queen is fit to rule, the colony will follow her no matter what. A single worker bee in summer time may visit up to 10,000 flowers in a day and have pollinated countless plants.
Bees have always fascinated animal ethologists for their discipline and selfless ethics . It is well known that the indefatigable insects undertake dances and wings movements to communicate the location of newly found sources of pollen so that the team can harvest together. Each bee is ready to sting to protect the colony from predators. However, sting will cause her to die, it is a sort of Harakiri. The males (drones) are useful to the colony only to fecundate the Queen. In autumn the workers bees stop feeding them and eventually push them out of the beehive.
Being a beekeeper is equally hard and if you believed that beekeeping is about walking bare footed on daisies covered lawns, while a dog leaps around you and a vintage picnic basket magically appears on the scene... well, that's not it.
My friend Elena, one of our suppliers, wakes up at the crack of dawn to start attending her 500 beehives. The physical fatigue of moving, shifting, lifting the beehives takes a toll on Elena's back. When I asked her why did she choose such a hard work she said
"It is a females' organization... that actually works ! ...and because they are so organized they pull together to overcome any obstacle... and because they are so selfless and brave..."
She went on and on...
Well, females and men, some people really love what they do.
Food is something we genuinely love. And Honey is a great ally in the kitchen.
Suggestions for use
- Honey has a stronger sweeting power than sugar, so you need to use a little bit less as compared to sugar.
- Cakes done with honey will be moist for longer and will have an aromatic depth. We suggest to use part honey part sugar.
- If your honey is cristallized, a totally natural event, just put in bain marie in hot (not boiling) water and it will return to liquid state.
Honey and Chocolate Muffins
- 60 gr butter
- 30 gr cocoa in powder and 50 gr 70% cocoa
- 160 gr flour
- 6 gr (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 1 spoonful of honey
- 125 ml cream
- 1 egg
- 125 gr sugar
Beat butter and sugar until well soft and white. Add the honey. Add the egg. Melt the chocolate bain maire and then pour into the mixture. Add the flour, well mixed with the baking powder, one spoonful at a time, alternating with the cream. Now add in the pinch of salt and the cocoa in powder. Mix well then distribute into 12 muffin mould. In the oven 180 degree, circa 30 minutes.
Carrots in honey
- 1 spoonful white vinegar
- 600 gr baby carrots
- 2 spoonful wild flowers honey
- 3 spoonful olive oil and salt
Wash the baby carrots and place them in an oven pan; dress with the oil and salt. Place in the oven at 190 for 20 min. In the meantime in a bowl mix honey and white vinegar. Remove the carrots from the oven and dress with the honey mix. Place in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Toss well and serve. Almonds can be sprinkled on top.
Plaice with honey and aromatic herbs
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 plaice fillets
- Thyme, sage, fresh rosmary
- 2 spoonful wild flowers honey
- 20 gr butter
Place in the frying pan the butter and oil. When nicely hot add the garlic and the leaves of your aromatic herbs. Toss and sir gently to allow the oils to extract the essences from the herbs.
Remove the garlic. Add the plaice, within 3 to 4 minutes flip until golden. Spread two spoonful of honey on top and leave to caramelize for 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley finely chopped and serve immediately.