The honey from Liébana is the natural and sweet substance produced from the nectar of the honeybee in this area or by the sap from plants. The bees collect the secretions, convert it into honey, and store it in the cells of the hives where it matures. The areas that make up the region that produces this honey are Cabezón de Liébana, Camaleño, Cillorigo de Liébana, Pesaguero, Potes, Tresviso y Vega de Liébana.
The organoleptic and chemical properties of every honey is defined by the nectar that the bees collect, from which we can distinguish two types of honey from Liébana:
Miel de Mielada (Nectar Honey): Produced from the sap of oak trees and holm oaks, and from the nectar of heather and blackberry, it’s characterized by its fluid consistency and its nearly-black color. The smell has a salty component that cuts the typical sweetness of other honeys.
Miel Monofloral de Brezo (Single Flower Honey of Brezo): This honey is made from heather (authentic or imitation). It is characterized by its paste-like texture, and its color is very dark, although, if subjected to low temperatures, it can take on a clear, amber color. Its aroma is a result of its floral notes, and its taste, includes a persistent touch of bitterness with notes of marked saltiness.
This honey stands apart from other sweeteners by presenting phytochemicals with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that give this product a special added value.
Beekeeping has been a typical practice of this region of Liéban for centuries. The beginnings of this craft were centered in the creation of wax that served as a commercial product. If we focus on the collection of the honey, the first references we find would date back to the 16th century, in the documents that kept track of the tithes collected by the church in Spain. In addition, the Spanish land registry of the Marquis Ensenada shows that the Lebaniegos had been harvesting the honey from their lands as of the 18th century. These historic references coincide with others centered in the recipe that still continue to make up part of the typical gastronomy of the area: the “merdoso” (a type of dessert), “frisuelos con miel” (crepes with honey), and the “orujo con miel” (a type of liquor).
Presently, there are still many that are dedicated to this profession (some 32 bee keepers) with a total of some 1,568 hives.
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