Typical Italian products: Varesino Honey Dop

Typical Italian products: Varesino Honey Dop

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Varesino Honey Dop

"Varesino Honey" is a monofloral acacia honey with a high degree of purity from the point of view of the origin of the nectar. The honey is peculiarly liquid and has a light color, from transparent to straw yellow, a light and delicate smell, free of pronounced odors and a very sweet taste. The aroma is delicate, sugared and vanilla flavored.
The geographical area of ​​production extends to the foothills of the Alps, between the Ticino and Olona rivers and between the Maggiore and Lugano lakes. This area corresponds to the territory of the Province of Varese.
The presence in this geographical area of ​​extensive and continuous blooms of Robinia pseudoacacia L. has determined, for at least a century and a half, the interest in the practice of beekeeping and the success of the production of "Varesino Honey".

Varesino Honey Dop

Production regulations

Article 1
Product name
The Protected Designation of Origin "Miele Varesino" is reserved for honey in compliance with the requirements and requirements established in this specification, of the single flower type:


Article 2
Production area
The geographical area of ​​production, both for the harvesting phase in the field and for that of extraction and preparation for consumption, is delimited by the borders of the territory of the Province of Varese.
The Province of Varese ("Green Province" and "Lakes") is bounded to the west by Lake Maggiore (Verbano) and the course of the Ticino river; to the north and, partially east, from the Italian-Swiss border, and in the remaining directions from the borders with the provinces of Como and Milan.
The pre-Alpine area develops between Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano (Ceresio) in an intricate series of short valley grooves, the so-called Varese valleys, separated by reliefs that on average exceed just 1000 meters.
The area adjacent to the capital is an area of ​​transition towards the plain, shaped by low moraine reliefs and characterized by the small glacial basins of the lakes of Biandronno, Varese, Monate and Comabbio.
Further south the morainic reliefs degrade and, from Gallarate to the border with the province of Milan, the landscape is that of the Po valley, with pebbly soils of alluvial deposit and shelves inclined towards the south and carved by the hydrographic network of the Olona river , Bozzente, Lura, Arno and the "blue river" Ticino.
The apiaries for the production of monofloral "acacia" honey, at the time of the collection of the nectar, are located in the plains, on the hills and in the Varese mountains at a height that must not exceed 600 m. above sea level.

Article 3
Product characteristics
"VARESINO HONEY" means honey produced from local hives, during the nectar foraging period, within the territory of the Province of Varese which must be extracted from honeycombs and prepared for marketing within the same territory.

The "VARESINO HONEY" of acacia, a term used for the monofloral honey of Robinia Pseudoacacia L., is so defined as it comes from a single floral origin and has the organoleptic, chemical-physical and microscopic characteristics defined below.

3.1 General physical and chemical characteristics.
The water content of "VARESINO HONEY" must not exceed 17.50%.
Hydroxymethylfulfural HMF index lower than 15 mg / kg.

3.2 Organoleptic characteristics
The organoleptic characteristics depend on the floral origin and are consequently slightly different in relation to the different nectariferous components and production areas:
Color: transparent, from almost colorless to straw yellow.
Odor: generic honey, light and delicate, without marked odors.
Taste: very sweet, delicate, sugared and vanilla flavored.
Physical state: typically liquid, rare and in any case very delayed crystallization.

3.3. Melissopalynological features
Representative class: PK / 10g less than 20,000 (average 9,500).
The black locust pollen is found recurrently associated with that of non-nectariferous species, most of which are present spontaneously in the robini groves of the production area, such as Graminaceae, Fraxinus, Quercus robur gr., Rumex, Sambucus nigra, Chelidonium and Luzula. Spontaneous species of the nectariferous type include Acer, Prunus f., Salix, Trifolium repens and Castanea sativa, the latter always represented in the pollen spectra.
Among the plants cultivated or mostly present mainly in artificial forest plants, gardens and parks, we find well represented both non-nectariferous species (Actinidia, Pinaceae) and nectariferous (Aesculus, Gleditsia, Liriodendron).
In the central-northern part of the production area the spectrum is even more characteristic for the presence of pollen belonging to evergreen plant species (laurophylls), among which Ilex aquifolium and the palm Trachycarpus fortunei (once called Chamarops excelsa) stand out, this last species recurrently represented in pollen spectra.
Finally, the absence of pollen from Loranthus europaeus and fodder legumes, such as Onobrychis, Hedysarum coronarim, all missing in the production area, should be noted.
The black locust pollen is the main pollen of acacia honey with very variable percentages (generally higher than 25%), range of variations 15-70% compared to the overall pollen spectrum.

Article 4
Proof of origin
Each phase of the production process is monitored by documenting the inputs and outputs for each. In this way and through the registration in special lists, managed by the control structure, of the hives, producers and packagers, the keeping of production and packaging registers as well as through the immediate declaration to the control structure of the quantities produced, the traceability and traceability of the product is guaranteed.
All natural or legal persons registered in the relative lists are subject to control by the control structure, in accordance with the provisions of the production specification and the related control plan.

Article 5
Description of the method of obtaining the product
5.1 Management of hives
Production hives can be:
"Permanent", that is, to remain in the same position for the entire period of the year of production.
"Nomads" with movements within the territory described above for the entire period of flowering concerned and coming from external positions from the territory but must arrive without a melarium or with an empty melario.
Rational hives (mobile honeycomb) with vertical development are used and, at the time of the productive harvest of the bees, empty and clean honey pots will be used.
It is absolutely forbidden to use pollen of different origins from strictly local production for protein nutrition.
During the inspection of the hives, the necessary smoke must be produced with cellulosic plant materials that must not transfer foreign smells or combustion residues to the honey.

5.2 Withdrawal, extraction and preparation for consumption
It is forbidden to use repellent substances.
To use the protected designation of origin "VARESINO HONEY", honey must be extracted and prepared for consumption through the following steps:
the extraction must be carried out exclusively from honeycombs without brood;
the premises intended for honey extraction, honey conservation processing must be located within the territorial area of ​​the production area;
the extraction is carried out exclusively with centrifugal honey extractors. Filtration must be performed by gravity with filters permeable to the figured elements of honey (pollen). After filtering, the honey must be placed in containers with a lid, for the purpose of decanting.
The quality of the product is ensured by the observance, by operators, of techniques of good beekeeping practices concerning the breeding of families, the production, the picking of apple trees, the extraction of honey, the preparation for consumption of the harvest and the conservation of the same.
If the honey, still contained in the melari, has a water content of more than 17.50%, it is allowed to treat the honeycombs with a stream of hot and dry air and / or with a dehumidifier in order to bring the humidity to a value lower than 17.50. %.
It is absolutely forbidden to treat the product with temperatures above 40 degrees.

5.3 Conservation
The honey produced can be stored, packaged and labeled within 24 months of the extraction date.
The rooms where the honey is stored must be dry, ventilated and, if necessary, with controlled humidity.

Article 6
Link with the geographical environment
Historical and human factors
In the province of Varese, beekeeping has always played a role of primary importance in the rural economy of this area.
Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries two important events gave a significant boost to Varese beekeeping.
First of all with the construction of the Italian railway network built by the unit of Italy onwards, Robinia pseudoacacia was used to consolidate the slopes of the escarpments and trenches which thanks to its ramified surface roots ensured excellent soil consolidation.
The species, native to North America, spread in Italy towards the end of the 18th century as a garden plant and immediately proved to be vigorous and easy to adapt to very different soil and climatic conditions and passed to forestry uses. The species found an ideal habitat in the province of Varese for the rainfall index, the type of soil and the temperatures. The spread outside the railway network was enormous, and all those lands abandoned by agriculture as a consequence of the heavy industrialization of those years together with the uncultivated / neglected woods, were colonized by Robinia. The plants began to produce the delicious nectar that would give rise to the famous Acacia honey (so named by the French around the world).
At the same time, the so-called Villica beekeeping was being transformed into a Rational beekeeping that made it possible to withdraw honey without having to resort to apicide and to obtain monofloral honeys, impossible to produce with the villic system.
“The first rational hives appeared in Cassano with dr. Dubini and ... in Golasecca and Coarezza ... by the partners, surveyor Giacomo Guazzoni and Fresca, in 1882 by purchasing peasant bugs that poured into the hive designed by Guazzoni himself, with a movable bottom and a half-mobile attic. In 1887 Guazzoni built the mold for wax sheets, the first with metal from printing characters, later made of aluminum and spread a bit from all sides, and one also in Siberia. The two partners competed in various exhibitions earning diplomas and medals. ... the Guazzoni hive ... could be kept closed in the apiary: ... the operations were carried out more easily, because it can also be opened in the upper part ". These events made it possible to produce monofloral honeys, in addition to the traditional chestnut, as early as the early twentieth century: acacia honey could be obtained, a great novelty for those times, thus causing a significant increase in beekeeping in the province of Varese in the subsequent years. This activity was the main source of income for beekeepers.
The black locust woods of the Varese area immediately became a destination for beekeepers from other territories; the woodland heritage still offers nectar as well as the 12,000 "Varesini" hives to as many "Forestieri" hives. In recent years beekeeping in the province of Varese has made great strides in fact more and more devotees to this activity, as a source of income, professional beekeepers, without taking into account the semi-professionals and hobbyists who, given the strong presence of woods, devote themselves to this passion also as an alternative source of income.
As evidence of this, it should be remembered that since 1934 there is a Mandatory Provincial Consortium of Beekeepers converted in 1983 into the Beekeepers Association of the Province of Varese and supported in 1989 by the Varese Honey Quality Consortium.
It should be noted that for many years during the flowering of Robinia Pseudoacacia, the presence of beehives in the province of Varese has doubled from 12,000 to over 20,000 hives. The reason for this significant increase is due to the fact that unlike other areas where acacia honey is produced, in the Varese area there are no agricultural crops or spontaneous essences that influence with their flowering the quality of the product that results thus more pure and fully responsive to the best typicality of acacia honey.

Environmental factors
From south to north the province of Varese can be divided for 22% on the plain (high plain), 46% on the hills and finally 32% on the mountains. The high plain is formed by terraced alluvial deposits of fluvio-glacial origin, in particular by coarse sediments, consisting of gravels and pebbles. The hilly area is mainly made up of moraine deposits interspersed with plains. The mountainous reliefs, confined in the northern area, have lithologies of a carbonate (marl and especially dolomite and limestone) or silicate (metamorphic rocks, such as gneiss and mica schists, and igneous, such as granofiri and porphyritic).
The temperate sub-oceanic climate is characterized by copious precipitations, more or less regularly distributed during the year, and by rather limited thermal excursions. The average annual temperatures range between 8 ° C on the mountain ranges up to 13 ° C in the plains, while the average annual rainfall increases from south to north, passing from values ​​of 1100 mm to 2100 mm.
The numerous lake mirrors contribute to the heterogeneity of the territory, also from a microclimatic point of view.
In the plain part, land use is mostly represented by residential and production settlements as well as arable land. Continuing north, the environments with greater naturalness (woods, meadows, wetlands, etc.) gradually increase, so much so that the mountainous areas are covered by deciduous forests, such as oak, maple-ash, chestnut and beech woods.
Overall, the forests of the province of Varese cover an area of ​​approximately 541 km2, equal to 45% of the entire provincial area. Acacia or locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) constitutes monospecific woods (pure robinieti) or consortia with other forest species (mixed robinieti). Overall, the small forest trees cover an area of ​​about 163 km2, corresponding to 30% of the provincial forest area. The robini groves are particularly widespread in the central-southern part (plain and hill), where they often represent the only forest typology present in the plain area, while in the northern part (mountain) they are present only at low altitude; the robinieti, in fact, rarely exceed 600 m. of altitude.
In the woods Robinia pseudoacacia is associated with Acer pseudoplatanus and A. campestre, Castanea sativa Corylus avellana, Crataegus monogyna, Fraxinus excelsior, Prunus avium and P. serotina, Robinia viscous, Sambucus nigra and Quercus robur. Lianas often cling to trees and shrubs, such as Clematis vitalba, Hedera helix, Lonicera japonica, Parthenocissus quinquefolia and Rosa multiflora. The herbaceous layer is quite variable in relation to the characteristics of the soil and is normally rich in species of the Graminaceae family (especially Brachypodium sylvaticum, Holcus mollis, Molinia arundinacea, Poa nemoralis and P. sylvicola) and of the genera Luzula (L. multiflora, L nivea and L. pilosa) and Carex (C. brizioides, C. digitata, C. muricata adj. and C. sylvatica), as well as Alliaria petiolata, Anemone nemorosa, Chelidonium majus, Circaea lutetiana, Duchesnea indica, Galeopsis pubescens, Galium aparine, Geum urbanum, Polygonatum multiflorum, Primula vulgaris, Rubus fruticosus, Vinca minor and Viola odorata. In the central-northern part of the province the robini groves are enriched with evergreen tree and shrub species (Elaeagnus pungens, Laurus nobilis, Ilex aquifolium, Ligustrum lucidum, Prunus laurocerasus Taxus baccata and the palm Trachycarpus fortunei), many of which thermally demanding and originating in climates tropical hot-humid. The naturalized specimens of these particular species, collectively called laurophylls, are the result of a spontaneous process that starts from the numerous dispersion centers (parks and gardens) historically present in the territory, especially in the areas surrounding the main lakes where eighteenth-century villas are welcomed and nineteenth century. The parks and gardens generally host a rich diversity of species, in particular of dendroflora, among which stand out Aesculus hippocastanum, Gleditsia triacanthos, Liriodendron tulipifera, Prunus cerasifera and numerous species of conifers belonging to the Pinaceae family (Cedrus atlantica and C. deodara, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Picea abies and Pinus strobus).
In the flowering period of Robinia pseudoacacia, however, other blooms of nectariferous species are not so equally important from a quantitative point of view, which can affect the monoflorality of the honey produced.

Productive factors
The beekeeping activity is widespread and developed throughout the provincial territory and is characterized by production companies that operate with great passion in a professional, semi-professional and hobbyist regime, considering this activity an important strength of the economy of agricultural production in the province of Varese.
Traditionally, the activity consists of permanent apiaries and also nomads that go from the plains to the hills and the mountains following the various stages of flowering.
The origin of the "VARESINO HONEY" can be verified by melissopallallinological analysis.

6.1 Product identification
The "MIARE VARESINO" in each of its production phases must ensure the traceability of the product.

Article 7
The verification of product compliance with the specification is carried out by a control structure, in accordance with the provisions of art. 10 and 11 of Reg. (CEE) n. 510/2006.
The control body is: I.M.C. Srl - Via Pisacane, 32 - 60019 Senigallia (AN) - tel. +039. 071 7930179 fax +039 071 7910043, e-mail: [email protected]

Article 8.
The indications relating to the designation and presentation of the packaged product are those required by current legislation.
In addition to those provided, the following indications must be on the label:
the name "VARESINO HONEY" as described in Article 1 of this specification;
the acronym "PDO" or in full "Protected Designation of Origin";
the Community logo for the identification of Protected Designation of Origin producers;
the production date corresponding to the month and year of extraction, preceded by the word "Production" (example Production May 2011)
methods of conservation: "to be kept in a cool, dry place and protected from light";
To be consumed before; month and year "corresponding to no more than 36 months from the drawing date".
They can also appear on the label:
nutritional indications
advice for use.

Article 9.
Use of the trademark

The use of the "MIELE VARESINO" trademark is reserved for beekeepers who have lived, produced and have had the laboratory in the production area for at least three years.

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