Molise pure Italian honey – hear from beekeeper Antonio Mastrogiacomo

Mastrogiacomo - beekeper from Molise

Here at Timperio, we have introduced pure, healthy and delicious honey from rural Molise in Italy to our range of products. People in Singapore and South-East Asia can now enjoy this marvellous and unique honey – honey like you have never tasted before.

Our supplier is Antonio from our home town of Colletorto in Italy’s beautiful rural Molise region. Its green hills and forests are home to an abundant flora, far away from any pollution. This is a superb, natural location for harvesting the very best honey our bees can produce.

Antonio, why don’t you tell us about who you are and how you got into the world of beekeeping?

“Ciao, Giuseppe. I am a young beekeeper who has always been passionate about nature. I come from a family of farmers and remaining in close contact with the land has always been one of my greatest passions. My love of beekeeping started at a young age. Once, when I was in my early 20s, I found a bees’ nest by an olive tree. The incessant flying back and forth of these wonderful creatures carrying coloured powders triggered my curiosity immediately. Back then I was a law student. Friends who knew of my love for bees told me about a specialist beekeeping course available in the University of Agriculture. The very next day, I was there at the university speaking to the Dean. It was not long until I purchased my first hive and the rest, as they say, is history”.

Tell us a little about this world of beekeeping – in particular what do you like about bees and handling them?

“When you open a hive, you are overwhelmed by a set of wonderful aromas and by the heat generated by these very industrious insects. Together, they really do form a family. As a beekeeper, you’ll always experience a sense fear too. Bees are wild animals, but this does not stop me from getting emotionally attached to them. They are an extraordinary species. Their sense of community is astonishing. Each individual bee plays its role. Even the queen can be replaced if she is not up to the job even though she is thought to be the undisputed leader. If her pheromone is not suitable for the family, she is replaced because the ultimate goal of bees is always to perpetuate the species”.

What are the optimal conditions for producing good honey?

“The essential requirement for producing good honey is having an uncontaminated environment away from pollution and invasive forms of agriculture. Ah, I forgot … these tireless insects must also have favourable climatic conditions and abundant blooms. As for the rest, we take care of them, treat them well and pay particular attention to all the details of bee maintenance”.

Is it true that honey never goes bad?

“Yes, honey in certain conditions keeps for centuries. Honey has been found still intact even in 5000-year-old tombs. The factors that contribute to its longevity are due mainly to its chemical complexity. It is basically a supersaturated solution of sugars with very little water and a low pH that makes it difficult for microorganisms to attack it. Furthermore, the bees add an enzyme to the nectar to transform it into honey. This enzyme is called glucose oxidase and mixes with the nectar to break it down into two elements: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The latter increases the characteristic ability of honey to be able to be preserved for such a long time”.

Which flowers give the most fragrant honey?

“Fortunately in Italy, and in Molise in particular, we have such a wide diversity of hills, woods and meadows that each have their own micro-environments. This great variety makes it possible to produce different types of honey. Perhaps there are 50 different varieties of blossom, meaning we can get so many types of honey that we are able to satisfy even the most demanding palates. My personal favourite remains the very intense orange with a floral flavour and sweet. But really you can go to the other extreme too, with a bitter honey like we get from the strawberry. There are always very good honeys available to match to your individual preference”.

Last question: How to distinguish a counterfeit honey from a pure and genuine one?

“This last question is the most difficult because honey is becoming one of the most counterfeited products. Fraudulent methods are constantly being discovered. Perhaps the only thing that you can rely on with certainty is knowing a trusted beekeeper who is committed to respecting the environment, and to the health and survival of the bees”.

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