PUNTOITALY No31 - July 2022

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash INGREDIENTS From acacia to millefiori Italy boasts over fifty varieties of monofloral honey; ranging from Acacia honey, the most sold together with the multifloral millefiori, to chestnut, citrus, linden and cilantro, including also honey from aromatic herbs such as lavender, thyme and rosemary. Furthermore, Italy can count also on three honeys that have denomination of controlled origin recognized by the European Union: PDO honey from Lunigiana, PDO honey from the Bellunesi Dolomites, and PDO Varesino honey. Each honey tells a story about a territory. According to the considerations by Coldiretti regarding data from the report by the National Honey Observatory, there are 1,5 million beehives that are taken care of by nearly 73 thousand beekeepers, of which 2 out of 3 do so as a hobby to produce for self-consumption. Despite the significant variety of honey available, Italians consume about 400 grams, against the European average of 600 grams. Balance at risk Beyond honey, bees give us royal jelly, propolis, bee pollen: all foods that are rich in beneficial substances. However, unfortunately the survival of these insects is at risk. In addition to bad weather that, with growing frequency, destroys the environment due to climate change, the use of pesticides is making their existence more and more compromised, and with them, their irreplaceable role of flower pollinators. According to FAO, three out of four crops depend on pollination by bees. On average, each bee visits 7 thousand flowers a day, and to make one kilogram of honey four million flower visits are necessary. The weakening of bees and the drastic changes in flower blossoming rhythms determine a scarce honey harvest which in the past few years has become a tragic situation. 24