Provincia di Bologna

Untreated comb honey


Untreated comb honey exhibits a higher quality with respect to ordinary honey whose properties are provided by the law. According to the “disciplinare” (production regulations), untreated comb honey is produced in compliance with traditional rules. It is extracted from mobile honeycomb hives through centrifugation. A suitable amount of humidity is necessary to ensure a long natural preservation and avoid undesired fermentation. Treatments which may alter the characteristics of freshly extracted honey are forbidden. Honey is never exposed to temperatures above 40°C. It is stored in order to retain the organoleptic features deriving from its natural origin and from the specific production and preservation procedures adopted. Untreated comb honey can be usually found in the crystallized form, which is evidence of a traditional production process. The liquid form is accepted only if spontaneous, i.e. in the early months after production or when it results from the botanical origin of honey.


Legal reference:
The traditional products were established by Decree-law 173/98.
Honey marketing was regulated by a national law from 1982 to 1998. It established that only honey meeting specific composition requirements could be marketed as untreated comb honey with the indication of a single botanical origin. Today this law has been repealed as it is incompatible with Community legislation. Recently, high quality honey producers officially asked the European Union to recognize “untreated comb honey” designation at a European level through “certificates of specific character”. This mechanism allows consumers to easily identify agricultural products and foodstuffs whose specific characteristics are the result of traditional preparation techniques.

Preparation techniques:
Honey can replace up to one third of sugar in the preparation of several dishes and desserts. Cakes and biscuits will gain a better texture and a unique aroma. They will be more evenly browned, less dry and will stay fresh a longer time. Honey can be added to food and beverages to enhance their flavour or to achieve a pleasant contrast. A few examples: a refreshing drink made of water, eucalyptus honey and lemon juice; a milk-shake with strawberries and lavender honey; orange juice with orange honey or ricotta (ewe’s milk cottage cheese) with chestnut honey.

Production area :
Beekeeping is widespread in the countryside of our territory. The most suitable areas are the Po Plain (where Leguminosae and especially lucerne grow abundantly) and the Apennine belt (rich in nectar-producing plants such as sainfoin, French honeysuckle, chestnut-tree, bramble, raspberry, wild blackthorn, bilberry and heather).

Historical and Geographical Information:
Honey began to be used in the kitchen earlier than sugar. Evidence of this is that honey with milk was the food of the gods! Moreover, honey is a fundamental ingredient in most Christmas cakes prepared throughout Italy. Beekeeping has always played an important role in the area of Castel San Pietro Terme and Gallo Bolognese thanks to Giulio Piana, a well-known native beekeeper. A renowned prize is bestowed upon the best Italian honey producer on the third Sunday of September in Castel San Pietro Terme.


Protection association:
Associazione Nazionale per il miele vergine integrale
10, Via Tagliaverde - San Paolo Solbrito (Asti)


Osservatorio Nazionale della Produzione e del Mercato del Miele
72, Via Matteotti - 40024 Castel San Pietro Terme (BO)
Tel. and Fax +39 051 940147

Related events:
NaturalMiele (Honey Fair Trade)– Castel San Pietro Terme, in June.
“Giulio Piana” Prize - Castel San Pietro Terme, third Sunday of September.

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Last update: 18-10-2013

Edited by Area Imolese