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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

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Yesterday we visited the annual honey and olive oil fira in El Perello. We like this fira it shows the produce of the area and gives people a chance to taste both the honey and oil locally produced.

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amongst the stands displaying honey and oil were wines, breads, cheeses, a large herbal display and various other items.  I found old friends there

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Celler Pinell de Bre  which is just up the road steeped in the history of the Spanish Civil War and producing some very special wine of the Terra Alta  http://bit.ly/LJWX4V you can contact them here.

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Also in their usual place I found the Co-operativa Batea, displaying their magical wines. We were informed trade was going well and were asked if we would like to sample some of the wines – sadly their offer was declined driving and the Mossos – but if you would like to sample some of their magic http://bit.ly/QmshfT talk to them.

But this year the large hall was curiously barren. The honey sellers were there but even the stall where you can purchase bee keeping equipment was smaller.  Also missing was the herbal stand, here you could buy various herbal medicine and teas along with those for cooking.  The stand which demonstrated various massage chairs, the music stand where you could see fine instruments,  neither were there.  Even outside the stalls were muted and no wood carving demonstrations by young men with chain saws.

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We wandered around the town square for a while then as it was getting late I decided to take my wife for a meal in L’Ametlla de Mar, the little town just up the coast.  We rather like this town, it was the first place we stayed at when we arrived before buying our finca.  I parked the car in the car park by the marina and we climbed the steps to the town.  After wandering around looking for a restaurant we came across a small one down a side street called The Gramophone.  The inside is nicely decorated with tables enough for  28 people inside and 16 outside.  There is an old-fashioned gramophone and radio which have been converted to play discs and which played old standards whilst we ate. The food was excellent we shared a blue cheese and apple salad the dressing was superb and a plate os patatas bravos, followed by a plate of various fresh seafood all washed down by a bottle of really good full-bodied red wine from Marca http://bit.ly/KuRyC8.   We then drove home through the mountains, all in all it was a perfect day.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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On The Way To Exhibition Halls

Yesterday was Sunday, warm, sunny and inviting, so what to do on such a day?  join your friends at a Honey and Olive Oil fair, so we did just that. This is a fair that happens every year to celebrate and promote the local honey and olive oil. Here you can buy oil and oil products such as olive pate and a very nice relish. With the honey you can buy everything from honey already in jars ready to sell or jars filled from large tubs according to your taste.  There was makeup, a rather nice honey based lip balm (so the ladies informed me) creams, lotions candles as well as honey beer.  It is possible to taste your way round the main hall and believe me it is well worth it.  There are different flavours of honey and oil just as there are flavours in wine.  Also on display were two stands which are part of the El Perello structure.

The Freesia Group

The Freesia Group a charity set up to raise money in the against fight cancer.  They are based in El Perello where the lady in this picture has lived for the last 19 years.  Very important people.

El Traginer Magazine

This is the El Traginer stand, staffed by two happy, cheerful people.  El Traginer is a local free Catalan  magazine, containing information besides advertising services and items and property for sale. It also advises you, in detail, of what is on and when with a  programme of activities plus their times.   This then is the  Mel i Oli Fira 2011.

Olive Oil

A Selection of Olive Oil

El Perello  is known for its Olive Oil and there were several producers displaying their oils.  These ranged from a pale green colour to an almost golden green.  One producer Joan Pinol produces their oil using the traditional stone crushed method. The olives are crushed by cone shaped stones then pressed through straw mats.  

 MEL (Honey)  

A Honey Shop - Cosmetics, Candles & Mel

I am under the impression that Honey or Mel as we call it here, is as important if not more so than the Olive Oil, possibly because El Perello is the main village producer in Catalunia. I also think that as it is a continuing, active, occupation which, unlike olive oil, where after the crop is harvested during November/December and the pruning time in March, the trees are basically left to themselves; bees on the other hand, cannot be left as keepers will tell you. It is an all year round occupation and the Bee Keeping Society is very active here.

A Display of Bees

One of the things they do is to get the children interested. In this way they not only see the bees at work, but how they live in the hives, the workers doing their bit, how the pollen is passed to them after collection and of course, the end results. Bees need attention to ensure they are healthy, and content, (angry bees are a bad scenario). An unhealthy bee can spell doom to the hive, so constant health checks are required, keepers are on constant lookout for mites that attack the  bees thus the children are made aware of the pit falls of not looking after the hives properly. This is also when the keeper can discover a new queen and, if caught in time, take her and start a new hive.  The queen is usually marked with either Tipex or nail varnish (I have it on good authority that neither harm her) so she is easily identified when checking the health of the hive and  production of honey. Afterall no queen = no honey. As nothing in this country goes to waste everything is used, from pollen through to honey, the people are very health conscious and know what is good and what is bad. They have been eco-friendly before the rest of the world even thought of the phrase.

 

Wine

 

One of the Wine Stands

 

As with all things country there is alway wine, lots of it and very very good.  Each region has its own distinctive taste to the wines produced, so it was nice to see a stand for wine distributor, disbegrup@terra.es  here you can purchase wines from around the region including the Cava’s and Mont Ferrant Brut Rose Cava. The other stand was Celler Batea from the Terra Alta region they had a fine selection of wines on display. No I could not taste any, for the one reason only, I could not get near enough!!!  When I finally caught the vinters eye, I managed to get information so a visit is in hand.

Herbs and Deli

Honey Candles

El Perello is a very interesting village, with Roman history, cave paintings as well as local history, with a Don Quotx windmill, so these deserve a really good investigation. Therefore I will at sometime be poking my nose in for a good look round.

   

 

   

 

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It is strange that an insect so important to this world, small, busy, productive, and varied which provides so much that is essential to us is under threat and the scientists can do nothing to help. I know they are looking into what is causing CCD but it is not just the mites that are killing off our bees. I realise that insecticides are the Big Bad Wolf but when DDT was used things were not so bad, not perfect, but not so bad.

There are 7 main species and 44 subspecies of bee but everyone recognises that this is likely to be incorrect. Alpini is a species with the European bee a subspecies, some of these are crossed with the African bee making them a little more defensive.  The New Zealand Bee is supposed to be more docile, but I can say that when I was using a rotorvator on my allotment in the UK I was brushing off the bees from my clothes where they had tried to sting me.  I do know that in certain parts of Africa bees are used to deter Elephants from damaging crops that cross their usual migratory paths and also provide the farmers with another income. They are taught how to look after the bees and process the end products, this is proving to be a natural barrier and a healthy nutritional by-product.

There is another byproduct they produce its called propolis. This is used by bees who hang their nests from trees to deter ants. They spread it along the branches making a sticky barrier. Collected, it is used in cosmetics, so ladies even your skin benefits. Here they use a honey skin cream to deter the black mosquitoes and biting flies it works and is good for the skin in the heat, smells nice too.

Then there is beeswax used for polishing and producing the wonderful glow seen on aged furniture. The wax is mixed with a little vegetable oil to make it pliable at room temperature; it also acts as an oil for doors and windows. The obvious other use is candles they burn long and smell sweet. When we visit a honey fair we buy several candles for that reason.

Something you may not know is they kill intruder wasps and hornets by surrounding them in a ball of bees, this produces such a lot of heat that the wasps are killed. Way to go bees….

So apart from providing a delicious food, cleaning product, and their stings being used to treat arthritis,  it is most important that we save these important creatures and do so now not in a few years when it may be too late but now this year.  The population of this world is growing fast and we need to produce more food, without these little pollinators crops will fail and well no crops no food no us…..

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