Honey from Etna and Sicily
It is called the 'Etna gold', we are talking about the honey made in Zafferana Etnea, the city of honey. Surely one of the best products of Etna, our beloved Etna in fact produces many excellent food products, this thanks to a territory kissed by the heat of the sun and by the florid volcanic earth.
Zafferana Etnea, is one of the Italian capitals of the best honey, with a very high quality production of this product that affects about 15% of the entire national product. This excellent product has been produced and marketed since 1910. Alongside pastoralism, the production of wine grapes, vegetables and fruit, the economy of the country was based almost exclusively on beekeeping.
Its toponym derives from the Arabic 'Zaufanah' which means yellow and refers to the production of saffron spice, or to the yellow of the brooms, and finally to the color of honey and bees. The attestation of Zafarana is found in some papers of 1694. Its meaning would derive from the Arabic, with the meaning of 'whistle of the wind' or of 'richest district of water'.
Honey production has been an activity practiced in Sicily for thousands of years thanks to the presence of the most prized honeys thanks to citrus fruits, medlar, on, thyme, chestnut, carob, orange and lemon orange blossom, thistle, citrus fruits such as bergamot , mandarin, clementine, cedar and grapefruit, yarrow, other species and especially the black bee, a native bee now almost in danger of extinction. Sicilian honey, in particular, has typical genuine characteristics and aromatic notes that make it the best on the market.
The municipality of Sortino (province of Syracuse) and that of Zafferana Etnea were 2 of the 11 Italian municipalities to set up in 2002 the national association of “Le città del miele”, which aims to unite the major honey producers in Italy.
Other apple production centers are located in the Nebrodi Mountains, in the area of Trapani and Palermo.
Honey: excellent in the kitchen and good for health
Honey is a unique food for its multiple uses and for its many healing properties, in fact it is one of the oldest foods of humanity. For peoples like the Egyptians and the Romans it was a gift from the gods. It was used to cure digestive disorders and to create ointments for wounds and sores, for its purifying, aphrodisiac, thirst-quenching, vermifuge, anti-toxic, regulating, refrigerating, cosmetic, toning and healing properties. It is also an excellent laxative, mucolytic, expectorant against the flu, it is also used to counteract pimples and acne. The famous royal jelly is mainly used as a tonic, propolis has phytotherapeutic properties against respiratory diseases. The honey extract is used in cosmetology for its emollient and moisturizing properties.
Honey is a fundamental element in some typical Sicilian and Catanian desserts, such as rice crispelle, a typical feast from Christmas in San Giuseppe, the cubbaita, the white nougat, all desserts of Arab derivation based on dried fruit, but also ricotta cake, honey and almonds, honey and nuts, but it also serves to sparkle the fruit, as in the case of pears with honey and cinnamon, caramelized apples, kiwis,
The famous liqueur, mead, semifreddo and lollipops are prepared.
It is also used for savory preparations, to accompany meat or game second courses, or to create a 'sweet contrast' with the strong flavors of local cheeses. Honey, especially chestnut, thanks to its rich and decisive flavor, is ideal for marinating roasts, mixed together with balsamic vinegar, in combination with ricotta and cheeses.