Strawberry Tree Honey

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Mjalte Mare

The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), native to the Mediterranean basin, produces small flowers and fruits that look similar to strawberries. Known in Albanian as mjalte mare, strawberry tree honey is easily distinguished from other honeys due to its sour taste and 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. Mjalte mare has been produced for generations in Albania, and is considered both nutritious and curative. 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 strawberry tree is widespread in the local forests– the honey is not generally produced in other areas of the country. Today, urban migration in the area has reduced the number of local beekeepers. 

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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.