Maltese Honey

Various localities are still connected to the honey industry and still carry names that link them to this craft. The Romans who made these islands famous for its honey left many apiaries built into the natural rock which show how advanced apiculture was in those times. Such places even bear the name of Imgiebah close to Xemxija Bay in Mellieha (Imgiebah is the plural or Mgiebha which is apiary in Arabic/Maltese – thus the area from time or Arabs in 600AD was already well known for the apiaries setup there and the name still stands today). Today the islands are still well sought after for their quality honey products by both locals and visiting tourists.

 

Until a few decades ago, beekeepers in the Mediterranean region kept their colonies in clay pots (qollol) which have been used since the Greeks times. However in 1992 the arrival of Varroa (a mite of Asian origin which lives in hives) wiped out most of the local bee population and modern beekeeping techniques started to be practiced locally with the introduction of removable frame hives.

 

There are three honey harvest seasons here in Malta: Spring, Summer and Autumn. The warm climate on the island allows bees to forage most of the year. They collect pollen and nectar in a radius of some 3 miles from their colony.

 

The spring honey is a multiforal type collected by bees between March and May from a variety of flowers such as borage, red clover, citrus and thistle. It is usually a light yellow colour. Spring honey crystallizes to become thick and thick light-coloured.

 

Summer honey, known as Għasel tas-Sagħtar or wild thyme honey is a monofloral (gathered from just one flower) honey that is light orange in colour and has a strong thyme aroma and taste. It is collected by bees during the months of June and July from the North-West of Malta, Gozo and Comino where vast garigue lands flourish with wild thyme. This honey remains syrupy as it does not crystallize.

 

Autumn honey is collected by the honeybees from September to mid-November depending on the start of the rainy season, from two main flowers, carob and eucalyptus blossoms, two trees which are commonly found in Malta. It has an intense aroma and it crystallizes into a creamy light to dark brown honey.

 

Golden Island Ltd is involved in the management of a number of small apiaries for the production of quality Maltese honey and other beehive products. We are also involved in the production of beeswax candles, infused honeys as well as jams/marmalades, conserves with olive oil, pates as well as sea salts and herbs.

 

Ray Sciberras

 

 

Ing Ray Sciberras runs Golden Island Ltd which is involved in the management of a number of small apiaries for the production of quality Maltese honey and other beehive products. Golden Island Ltd is also involved in the production of beeswax candles, infused honeys as well as jams/marmalades, conserves with olive oil, patés as well as sea salts and herbs