Eucalyptus honey is made across mainland Italy and the islands from Eucalyptus camaldulensis nectar. Originally from Australia this plant arrived in the coastal areas of various regions in the early 19th century and is considered naturalised in most of these, with only Sardinia considering it invasive. In the past it was thought that the terpenes in its leaves kept marsh mosquitoes, malaria carriers, away. However, mosquito numbers are actually reduced by the drying out of the terrain which results from Eucalyptus reforestation. For this reason it is still present in large quantities, especially in reclaimed land areas.
- Colour: from pale to dark amber when liquid, brown to grey when crystallised.
- Fragrance: medium intensity, porcini mushroom proteins, liquorice and caramel.
- Aromas and flavours: medium intensity, toffee, liquorice, dulce de leche, salted caramel, normally sweet with mild saltiness possible."
- This is a pleasant and well-balanced pairing in which the aromas and flavours of Grana Padano aged 16 to 20 months harmonise with the complexities of eucalyptus honey, which are not, however, overly intense.
We always recommend serving an assortment of honeys, perhaps two very different ones, so leaving diners to decide for themselves. Honeys should not be put onto cheese prior to serving both because this does not leave the choice to diners but also because the high osmotic pressure of honey tends to lead to it absorbing the cheese's salty liquids in the space of just a few minutes. Try the two on their own first before testing the various pairings.
The honeys should be served in small containers, and a teaspoon for serving it. Liquid and creamy honeys can be used as they are. Compact crystallised honeys can be stirred before transferring the honey from the jar to the serving container to make them easier to serve, scraping off the required quantity.
Curious factsIt is easy to source both locally and at large-scale retailers.
Autumn-flowering Eucalyptus occidentalis honey called eucalyptus honey can also be found on sale. Its crystallisation is generally more subtle and dense.