Arbutus Tree Honey

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Mjalt Mare

The strawberry tree is a tree native to Mediterranean areas that produces small flowers and fruits that look similar to strawberries. Honey made from the pollen of the strawberry tree, in Albanian called mjalt mare, can be easily distinguished from other honeys by its sour taste and its beige color. It is generally produced from mid-October until late November. After the bees have produced this honey, it is cut away from the honeycombs, separated with a centrifuge and then placed in jars for long term storage.  Mjalt mare has been produced for generations in Albania, and is considered to be nutritious and have curative properties. It is produced in the area between the villages of Carvova and Pagri in southern Albania. It can be found for sale in the area in small quantities, but is also harvested and kept for personal use. The region of Përmet is one of the few areas of Albania in which the arbutus tree is so widespread in the local forests, and so this honey is not generally produced in other areas of the country. Today, rural-to-urban migration in the area has reduced the number of local people dedicated to beekeeping. 

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Arca del GustoThe traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.