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Honey is known for its natural sweetness. Worldwide it’s used as a sweetener in baking, food and drinks.

But, a variant of honey that’s believed to be more than 2 000 years old is now making waves in Europe. Corbozzollo honey is bitter with notes of leather, liquorice and smoke.

Unlike normal honey, this Italian honey isn’t derived from bees, but rather from the white bell-shaped flowers of the wild strawberry tree. This tree is found in most of southern Europe, but predominantly on the island of Sardinia.

CNN reports that the corbozzolo’s fruits ripen slowly, changing colour several times during the process, from yellow to orange to ripe red. But it’s the shrub’s mildly sweet, white flowers – which bloom from October until December – that the bees pollinate and whose nectar they transform into a honey with an extraordinary flavour profile that encapsulates the smells and flavours of Sardinia.

The tree that flowers in autumn between October and December is actually more of a shrub. The flowers are pollinated by the bees producing nectar that is unique in taste.

Although Sardinia is the biggest producer of corbozzolo honey, Iran is the country listed as the number one producer of traditional honey with 75 463 tonnes per year. The United States is in second place with 70 179 tonnes per year.

Image credit: Turisomo Reggio Calabria

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