Rhododendron honey

Rhododendron honey
In Italy, rhododendron honey is made exclusively in the Alps at altitudes of over 1700 metres from Rhododendron hirsutum and ferrugineum nectar. It flowers in June and July.

Characteristics:
  • Colour: ranging from almost colourless to straw yellow in liquid form and white to beige when crystallised.
  • Fragrance: weak in intensity at most. A characteristic of this honey is the absence of marked aromas. When recognisable aromas are present, these include the odours of low fat yoghurt, goat's milk, propolis, and white melon.
  • Aromas and flavours:  weak in intensity, normally sweet and sometimes accompanied by fruit nuances ranging from fruit jelly, pear juice, and calamint. When pure, this is one of the least aromatic honeys.
This is a pairing with a very fine honey which proves a perfect match with Grana Padano aged from 16 to 20 months, whose characteristics it does not conceal but instead enriches it in an especially elegant way.

Serving method:
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."
"Difficult to find at large scale retailers, it can be bought from nomadic beekeepers who move their hives between altitudes during the rhododendron flowering period.
The plant’s distribution is subject to great variability based on the weather, including summer, and this makes producing this single flower honey a somewhat hit-and-miss experience susceptible to seasonal changes. The quantity of honey produced varies from year to year, with some years producing almost nothing.
Rhododendron ponticum flowers in some parts of Turkey but honey made from it cannot be sold. due to the presence of a substance called Grayanotoxin which can cause serious heath problems, and it is sometimes called ‘mad honey’. There is no connection between this and the rhododendron honey made in Italy.

Curious facts

Difficult to find at large scale retailers, it can be bought from nomadic beekeepers who move their hives between altitudes during the rhododendron flowering period.
The plant’s distribution is subject to great variability based on the weather, including summer, and this makes producing this single flower honey a somewhat hit-and-miss experience susceptible to seasonal changes. The quantity of honey produced varies from year to year, with some years producing almost nothing.
Rhododendron ponticum flowers in some parts of Turkey but honey made from it cannot be sold. due to the presence of a substance called Grayanotoxin which can cause serious heath problems, and it is sometimes called ‘mad honey’. There is no connection between this and the rhododendron honey made in Italy.