This name defines honey varieties whose origin is connected to a prevalent botanical species because they are sufficently characterized in terms of organoleptic and microscopic features.
The production of unifloral honey varieties is possible for those species that are very abundant in enough large areas. Special bee-keeping techniques are necessary to increase production and increase its pureness.


The following list gives you a flavour of the main Italian unifloral honey varieties:


Locust-tree or Acacia Honey

(Robinia pseudoacacia)

In Italy it is mostly produced in pre-alpine areas and in Tuscany but it is produced also with a good level of pureness in other regions (from Veneto to Emilia Romagna, from Abruzzo to Campania, etc.).

Physical features: generally liquid, it can become turbid because of crystals formation but never gets completely crystallized.

Colour: very clear, one of the fairest.

Smell: not too intense, not particularly distinctive,
slightly floral.

Taste: delicate, slightly reminds of flowers, with a typical vanilla touch.

Usage: table honey, natural sweetening agents replacing traditional white sugar.


Citrus Fruit Honey

(Citrus spp.)

Remarkable quantities of this honey variety are produced in the vast southern and insular citrus orchards. The most common variety is mixed citrus honey and only rarely single- species honey (orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, etc).

Physical features: it crystallizes spontaneously sometimes with a coarse and sandy texture.

Colour: very fair, white when crystallized.

Smell: medium intense, distinctive, floral, fresh, reminds of orange flowers

Taste: very aromatic, deeply floral and fruity.

Usage: is one of the most popular types of table honey because of its floral aroma, it matches perfectly to any sweet foodstuffs.


Thistle Honey

(Galactites tomentosa, Carduus spp. e Cirsium spp.)

Mostly produced in Sardinia.

Physical features: spontaneous crystallization some months after the harvest.

Colour: when it is amber-like it is more or less fair with orange hues; more beige oriented with yellow hues when crystallized.

Smell: medium intense, distinctive, with floral and fruity notes, slightly foxy; chrysanthemum notes.

Taste: normally sour and sweet, slightly bitter and astringent.

Usage: table honey.


Chestnut Honey

(Castanea sativa)

It represents one of the most important unifloral type at national level. Large quantities are produced on the Apennines and in the mountain areas of the islands.
Not all consumers like it because of its peculiar features: dark, pungent, bitterly tasted. However others love it just because of these same unique features.

Physical features: generally liquid or made of large crystals

Colour: amber like, more or less dark according to the production area.

Smell: very intense, pungent, resinous, foxy

Taste: very intense aroma, tangy at first then bitter according to the origin,
tannin like.

Usage: table honey for those who do not like flat and sweet taste, ideal as flavour and taste enhancer.


Strawberry Tree Honey

(Arbutus unedo)

This is an autumn honey variety usually produced after rainy summers, mostly in Sardinia and in central parts of Italy, typical of Mediterranean shrublands.

Colour: amber coloured, with grey-green hues

Smell: pungent, grass like, similar to coffee grounds

Taste: very distinctive, bitter

Usage: table honey


Heath Honey (Erica arborea)

Produced in springtime from Liguria to Calabria (and on the largest islands), typical of Mediterranean shrublands.

Physical features: quick crystallization, fine crystals, pasty texture. When liquid it is never perfectly crystal clear.

Colour: amber like or very dark with orange hues.

Smell: medium intense, caramel like

Taste: normally sweet, fudge- like, slightly bitter

Usage: table honey, less filling then other hone types


EucalyptusTree Honey

(Eucalyptus spp.)

Produced in the centre and south of Italy where eucalyptus trees were planted as natural windbreakers or for reforesting purposes, especially along the Tyrrhenian coastline of Maremma (in Latium region especially) and also in Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia.

Physical features: it crystallizes spontaneously quite quickly generating a compact mass made of very fine crystals.

Colour: medium amber like, when crystallized it fades to grey

Smell: intense, not very fine, similar to dried mushroom, smoky, caramel like.

Taste: strong and distinctive, liquorice like.
Usage: table honey


Sunflower honey

(Helianthus annuus)

Unifloral honey mostly produced in the centre of Italy where the most sunflower crops
are located.

Physical features: quick but variable crystallization

Colour: very typical,
bright yellow

Smell: medium intense, fruity, pollen-like, stewed fruit.

Taste: slightly herbaceous, refreshing, similar to melting sugar, especially when the texture is very fine.

Usage: table honey but it is also widely use for cakes and in the agrifood industry.


Lavender honey

(Lavandula spp.)

Mostly produced in France and Spain where this plant is more widespread. In Spain and Sardinia there is also wild lavender honey (Lavandula stoechas) which has different features, a less intense but finer aroma.

Physical features: usually fine texture

Colour: from fair to amber like

Smell: very intense

Taste: distinctive, passion fruit like.

Usage: very fine table honey


Fir Tree Honeydew Honey

(Abies alba and Picea excelsa)

Produced in the Alps and in the Apennines between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna only
in the silver fir forests of the Foreste Casentinesi area.

Physical features: usually fine texture

Colour: very dark, almost black, with a light green and fluorescent note

Smell: medium intense, resinous, similar to burnt wood, caramel sugar

Taste: less sweet and cloying then nectar honey, balsamic, malt like, candied orange zest, resinous, condensed milk.

Usage: table honey


Forest Honeydew Honey

In many Italian regions during the summer honeydew honey
is produced but it is not possible to trace it to a single specific plant of origin. It results from the plants attacked by an insect (Metcalfa pruinosa) that feeds itself on the sap of various plants, both wild and farmed crops, and then produces a lot of honeydew. This insect, of American origin, was first introduced in our country thirty years ago and now it is largely widespread.

Physical features: generally liquid

Colour: from amber like to almost black

Smell: herbaceous but fruity, reminds of stewed vegetables, preserves or pulped tomatoes, fig jam notes, yeasty notes.

Taste: less sweet and cloying than nectar honey, slightly savoury, malt like, notes of dried prune, dried fruit and molass.

Usage: table honey


Rhododendron Honey

(Rhododendron spp.)

It is produced exclusively on the Alps, at an altitude where the climate is so instable that honey production varies enormously from one year to another.

Physical features: it crystallizes spontaneously after some months, often it forms a compact mass of fine or pasty coarse, round and sticky crystals

Colour: very fair, almost white when crystallized

Smell: fruity, very delicate

Taste: delicate, fruity, gumdrop- like.

Usage: table honey


Sulla Honey

(Hedysarum coronarium)

Sulla is a forage crop typical
of clay soil of Mediterranean shrublands; it blooms at the end of spring with beautiful
red flowers. It is produced mostly in the central, southern and island regions of the country.

Physical features: it crystallizes spontaneously after the harvest, it forms generally a quite compact mass of medium or fine crystals.

Colour: fair, almost white when crystallized.

Smell: very delicate

Taste: delicate with a pleasant herbaceous note

Usage: any


Dandelion Honey

(Taraxacum officinale)

Early spring honey typically produced in Lombardy and Piedmont and almost exclusively if the bee colonies are enough developed when this plant blooms.

Physical features: it crystallizes spontaneously very quickly with very
fine and regular crystals making up a creamy and soft mass.

Colour: amber like with yellow hues, when liquid; creamy white or yellow when crystallized.

Smell: very intense and distinctive: tangy and pungent, acetic, almost ammonia-like, similar to a bitter almond liqueur, foxy, dried flowers notes.

Taste: finer than its smell, chamomile tea like, notes of fresh spices and marzipan

Usage: table honey, provided people like its distinctive taste


Lime Tree Honey (Tilia spp.) Produced from wild lime trees at the feet of the Alps, often mixed with chestnut trees

and from trees located along avenues
and parks, if enough widespread. Sometimes it is also mixed with lime tree honeydew.

Physical features: it crystallizes with coarse crystals

Colour: from fair to very
dark according to the mixed honeydew quantity.

Smell: medium intense, distinctive, fresh, aromatic, mentholated, balsamic, resinous, medicine-like, light lime tree tea.

Taste: mentholated and resinous

Usage: table honey


Thyme Honey

(Thymus capitatus)

Different types of spontaneous wild flowers are used for the production of multi-floral honey.
The following description refers to unifloral thyme honey produced in the inner mountain areas
of Sicily.

Physical features: it crystallizes slowly and spontaneously after some months, often with irregular crystals

Colour: medium amber like

Smell: intense, floral, rose-like

Taste: very intense, in-between floral and “chemical” notes, reminds of cedar wood, similar to fortified wine

Usage: table honey