If one thing is clear, it is that Galicia can boast of many things. In addition to the natural and historical heritage, traditions or legends, the Galician community treasures an extensive list of gastronomic products with the maximum guarantee of quality. One of the most relevant: honey. The abundant rains, the soil and the great variety of autochthonous flora favour the elaboration of this delicacy, registered since 2003 in the Indicación Xeográfica Protexida ‘Mel de Galicia’.
This organization is responsible for checking that the honey meets all the quality requirements required by the regulations, carrying out regular checks from the hive to the point of sale. The area of production, processing and packaging is limited only to the territory of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, getting to be part of this seal of quality more than 30,000 beehives of 400 beekeepers, approximately.
The honeys accredited by this seal are distinguished from the rest by developing much of their production process away from hostile environments such as cities or industrial estates. In most cases, it is because they are in areas of difficult access or at risk of depopulation. In this way, all the bottles registered in the Indicación Xeográfica Protexida ‘Mel de Galicia’, have an identifying back label that guarantees that we are consuming a product of extraordinary quality.
In terms of variety, Galicia has the ideal conditions to produce different types of honey. Galician ‘sweet gold’ is mostly of the milflores type, a type of honey that has from light to dark colours with fruity and floral flavours. However, other monofloral flavours are also produced, among which the most noteworthy: monofloral eucalyptus honey (in areas of the Rías Baixas, A Coruña, region of Ferrolterra or Mariña Lucense), generally amber in colour with a slightly acid taste; monofloral chestnut honey (mainly in the Lugo and Ourense groves), dark or reddish in colour with salty hints; mono-floral blackberry honey (in the south of Lugo and south-central Ourense), which stands out for its strongly fruity flavour; and finally, mono-floral kermes oak honey (in A Fonsagrada, O Courel, Serra da Capelada, As Pontes and some areas of Ourense), which is also dark amber in colour but with more intense fruity aromas.
Bitter, fruity, sweet or even with salty touches, honey is one of the star products in every home. A healthy product with important nutritional characteristics that serves both to sweeten recipes and to recompose our energy. In fact, the study ‘Put in value of the honey of Galicia: nutritional labeling’ carried out by the University of Vigo in 2011 with the support of the Consello Regulador Indicación Xeográfica Protexida Mel de Galicia and financed by the Consellería do Medio Rural, Ministerio de Medio, Medio Rural e Mariño e Feader, determines that the Galician honey has a level of minerals and vitamin C superior to that of other regions.
All these virtues make the Galician popular culture celebrate numerous festivals of exaltation of a product that abounds and is already part of the gastronomic heritage of the community. The Feira do Requeixo e do Mel in As Neves (A Coruña) held every year on Viernes Santo, the Feira do Mel in O Valadouro (Lugo) in mid-October, the Feira do Mel ‘Meleira’ in Pontevedra in August, the Feira do Mel in Oleiros (A Coruña) in November or the Feira do Queixo do Eume e Mel de Goente in As Pontes de García Rodríguez (A Coruña) also in October, are just a few examples of these celebrations. Without a doubt, a sweet treasure that you can’t stay without tasting.