The Sicilian Black Bee is a species native to the Island, and a descendent of African bees. The species faced rapid decline in the 1980s in favor of the western honey bee, and would have become extinct had it not been for Sicilian Entomologist named Peter Genduso. He introduced the Sicilian Black Bee to remote islands where it could repopulate, while dreaming of someday bringing the bee home to Sicily. His pupil, Charles Amodeo campained for the Slow Food Association to create a Presidium to protect the Sicilian Black Bee – today there are eight beekeepers harvesting honey from the native species in Sicily.
Most people are familiar with carob as a second-rate replacement for chocolate. Carob trees grow throughout Sicily, and are distinguished by their leathery brown pods. Mono-floral carob honey is somewhat hard to come by, which is why our carob honey harvested by Sicilian black bees is extra special. The majority of tree-honeys are aphid honeys, in which bees collect the aphid-dew left behind after aphids digest tree sap (try not to think about it too hard!) Carob honey is made from the nectar flowing from the flowering carob pods. It is amber in color, with a dense crystaline texture. It tastes rich and nearly chocolately (not-unlike carob chips!) and bursts with flavors of warm spices, thyme, and finishes slightly bitter.
We love this honey spooned over cheese, or spread on toast with an ample amount of butter – but surely you could find a more creative use for it. Need a taste? Give us a call at 612.521.8725, we love talking about food.