Mjalt Mare (Arbutus Tree Honey)

Honeys and Bee-related Products - Albania

The arbutus tree is a tree native to Mediterranean areas that produces small flowers and fruits that look similar to strawberries. Honey made from the pollen of the arbutus tree, in Albanian called mjalt mare, can be easily distinguished from other honeys by its sour taste and its beige color. It is generally produced from mid-October until late November. After the bees have produced this honey, it is cut away from the honeycombs, separated with a centrifuge and then placed in jars for long term storage.  Mjalt mare has been produced for generations in Albania, and is considered to be nutritious and have curative properties. It is produced in the area between the villages of Carvova and Pagri in southern Albania. It can be found for sale in the area in small quantities, but is also harvested and kept for personal use. The region of Përmet is one of the few areas of Albania in which the arbutus tree is so widespread in the local forests, and so this honey is not generally produced in other areas of the country. Today, rural-to-urban migration in the area has reduced the number of local people dedicated to beekeeping.