Honey and beekeeping in Oltrepò Pavese

From the Egyptians to the Oltrepò: the history of an ancient product that becomes excellence among the rolling hills...
Honey and beekeeping in Oltrepò Pavese - Immagine: 1
Honey and beekeeping in Oltrepò Pavese - Immagine: 2

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"Each bee carries the mechanism of the universe: each summarizes the secret of the world."
- Michel Onfray

Honey is a very ancient product, its production is linked to the life cycle of a particular species of insects: bees. The particularity of the bees is not only due to the productivity that distinguishes them, but also to their strong link with another species: the human one. In the course of history a conception has manifested itself several times: the fate of man and bees would be in strong connection.

An ancient testimony of the synergy between man and bees dates back to the Neolithic period and we know about it thanks to a rock representation, depicting bees in flight and a man intent on obtaining honey. The first to practice beekeeping, however, were the Egyptians: they understood the importance of preparing for bees a suitable habitat for the construction of the hive.
Throughout history, man understood the richness of the product "honey" and he therefore began to use it for its nutritional and healing properties, but not only!
Honey was attributed additional roles: the Celtic population used it, for example, for burial rites; for the Etruscan it had the value of a votive offer. Other populations, such as the Indian one, attributed to honey an aphrodisiac power, inserting it among the ingredients of love filters. Its religious value is also known, it was in fact used in religious rites, and it is mentioned in the Koran, where it is recognized as a symbol for material and spiritual rebirth.

Honey production spread rapidly and remained unchanged throughout the Middle Ages, until honey was replaced by the arrival of sugar, which was much cheaper. However, the value of honey today is not in crisis: beekeeping has witnessed new progress between the seventeenth and fifth centuries, thanks to the development and implementation of new techniques.

In Oltrepò Pavese honey production plays an important role. In the small village of Zavattarello, the tradition of honey production was already passed down in the 19th century through Count Luigi Dal Verme. For this reason, Zavattarello is also called the country of honey and bees. Also in the whole surrounding area, honey is considered a main product and a series of associations were born for its enhancement. In 2015 the Apiculturists Oltrepò Montano association was born. The attribution of the protected designation of origin for Zavattarello honey was also proposed and discussed. In order to increase product quality and production efficiency, beekeepers know that one of the aims should be the creation of a network between them. Honey is also produced in the areas of Chignolo Po and Casteggio, on whose farms you can buy it but also take part in activities to discover its secrets! There are several honey producers and retailers in Oltrepò that offer a unique and traditional product, discover them with oltrepoAdvisor!

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