Bees and honey, visiting beehives in Friuli, Italy

I have been wanting to write about honey for a long time.

I can never let go of those vivid memories of childhood breakfasts in a kitchen filled with blinding sunshine. Sitting on my grandmother’s prickly old wooden bench I would munch thick slices of rustic bread generously spread with delicious sticky honey.

That was my grandfather’s honey.

bees in a trunk

Bees kept in a trunk to make it a more natural environment for them

My granddad died 2 years ago aged 96. Amazingly he managed to keep bees until he was 95.Β  Still, sometimes when I pass by his house I think I see his ghost with his white suit working intently over his beloved creatures. He did his job with such a passion and maybe that’s why his honey was just so special.

bees in their beehive

Unfortunately many people don’t know what honey is. Much of the honey you find in supermarkets is very industrial and has sugar added to it; basically it is not honey at all, that’s how they can make it so cheap.

You have to pay more for what I would call proper honey. This is because making honey is expensive and takes lots of work and effort. So beware of very cheap honey.

I’d like to share some photos of my visit to the “Bosco di Museis” a family run business of beekeepers in the mountains of Friuli in the North-East of Italy.

This place, situated near Arta Terme in the Julian Alps, is just one hour and 30 minutes away from my home town so it was a good day out for my family and I.

a meadow in the Friulian mountains

When you travel towards the mountains the air and the environment becomes suddenly mystic, quiet and soothing to the mind. I am someone who enjoys regular meditation and often a trip to the mountains will encourage me to look inside my deeper self even more.

My favourite times to visit are spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom and the meadows show their true colours.

I enjoyed learning about how bees work and the complexity of a bee’s life. They are very clever, social and laborious insects and what they do is just amazing.Β  The beehives are moved around to different areas from the mountains to the seaside so the bees can suck different types of flowers and produce different types of honey. This practice is very common these days.

Beehives at bosco di museis

Beehives at Bosco di Museis

Sometimes bees abandon their beehive to follow the queen bee. The job of the beekeeper is to get them back to their beehive. If they have flown to a branch of a tree he would carefully cut the branch and shake the bees back into their beehive. He needs to make sure that the queen bee goes back to the beehive so all the bees will follow.

bees escaped on tree

These bees have left their beehive to follow their queen bee on a branch

mountains of Friuli

bees

Italy is a large producer of honey. My region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the North-East of Italy produces a wide variety of honey: from Wildflower (Millefiori), to Acacia, Honeydew Forest Carso (called Melata, very dark and with hints of caramel), Friulian Chestnut, Friulian Dandelion and many others.

Did you know that a bee has to fly to 1000 flowers to make a spoon of honey? A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen.

Honey is “food for the gods” as it contains all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water with many vitamins and precious elements.

So it is definitely worth enjoying a spoonful of honey from time to time πŸ™‚

horse in the field

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7 Responses to Bees and honey, visiting beehives in Friuli, Italy

  1. gloria

    Alida what lovely and beautiful post!
    I adore honey only last saturday I asked hubby he brings honey!
    I always use in many things:)

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida, Wow! I love this post as I adore pure honey! You were very blessed to have a granddad that was a beekeeper. You must have had a really “sweet” childhood, eating the honey on the bread. We don’t realize what the beekeeper has to deal with, we just buy it in the store for a lot of the Italian goodies. But you know from your granddad and from your visit to the Bosco di Museis. What glorious scenery, with the mountains in the background. A perfect place to raise delicious honey. Beautiful photos, Alida..Enjoy reading about honey. Have a great day…Dottie πŸ™‚

  3. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    What a beautiful place and wonderful memories of your grandfather! Honey is such an incredible and delicious wonder of nature and whenever I eat it I think ‘clever bees’…… Thank goodness for bee keepers like your grandfather!

  4. Louise

    I love this post, Alida! Although, I must confess, I love all your posts:) This one is especially touching since it reflects on your childhood and grandfather’s beekeeping love.

    I’ve often thought about beekeeping but I know it takes a lot of time and patience. I do try to grow plants in my garden that bees like. It’s important to keep them well fed:) In the US, we celebrate National Honey Month in September. I must save this post to share for National Honey Month…and thank you to you for sharing, Alida…

    • Alida

      Thank you Louise, I didn’t know there is a National Honey Month. Interesting. I love honey so much!

  5. Nick Ornella

    Born in San Daniele and a multi time visitor to my beloved home town. First cousins live there. prosciutto is boned, air aged and there. Try some. Meni

    • Alida

      That’s nice! I love prosciutto di San Daniele too. My hometown is only 30 min away. It is the most tasty prosciutto ever!

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