A (Pre-historic) Taste for Honey

Sweet Home Valencia

Spring has arrived in Valencia and the air is once more impregnated with the dizzingly sweet scent of orange blossom. Inevitably at this time, a young man’s thoughts turn to honey, and in fact Valencian bees would appear to be busier than most, which may account for the fact that they produce a third of all the honey in Spain, ten million kilos a year to be exact, 60% of which is to be found in the province of Valencia.

Honey has a long tradition is the region, in fact there is a painting in the ‘Cave of the Spider’ (Cueva de la Araña), Bicorp, Valencia, dating back as many as 7,000 or 15,000 years, depending on the version you read, a cave painting that depicts a man working with honeybees.

bees

This painting is frequently referred to internationally by historians and anthropologists as the first recorded evidence of the ancient history of bee keeping, and was discovered in1924 by a local teacher, Jaime Garí i Poch.

There are some 720,000 million domestic bees in Spain, making it the largest world population per capita; 18,000 bees per inhabitant. There are some 2.4 million hives with about 30,000 bees per hive. Total annual honey production is around 30,000 metric tons, making Spain the largest producer in Europe.

‘Milflores’- (a thousand flowers) is the most common type. Orange blossom, thyme, rosemary and heather are all typical local single flower varieties.

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