The honeys of Tenerife
The climate and terrain of Tenerife endow the flora with some very special features. These floral combinations and the endemic plant species are the reason for the diversity and originality of the honeys of Tenerife.
The honeys of Tenerife come from some 10,000 mobile hives distributed all over the island in the care of some 500 bee keepers, who take care of their small hives with all the loving care of the craftsmen they are. The native bee of Tenerife is the black bee, producing some 150,000 kilos of honey a year on average, accounting for 50% of all the honey produced in the Canary Islands.
Moving the hives in search of the best blossoms at any one time allows bee keepers to obtain some very special honeys, which offer a wide range of flavours and unusual colours that are not found in other honey producing areas, from the Light colours and less intense flavours of the Broom and Bugloss honeys, to the dark colour and stronger taste of the banana - avocado honeys, covering the whole range of ambers and golds.
Tenerife produces some exquisite multi-flower, or "milflores" honeys with surprising characteristics, due to the multiple combinations of flowers possible, as there is no dominant species of plant. The honeys of Tenerife are classified according to the altitude they are produced at, hence, we have High Mountain, Foothills and Coastal honey.
The High Mountain Honeys are produced at an altitude of over 1200 metres, basically in Las Cañadas del Teide from flowers like broom and bugloss. These honeys include the outstanding Teide White Broom Honey (Miel de Retama del Teide), produced at an altitude of over 1500 metres.
This is produced in hives situated between 450 and 1200 metres. These include the multi-flower foothills honeys and the single flower honeys made from chestnut, tree heath or bugloss. These honeys have a stronger flavour when there is a dominance of heathers, fennels and chestnuts, and milder and more aromatic when the predominant plant species are oregano, eucalyptus or tagasaste.
These are honeys produced below 450 metres, which combine orange blossom, balo, avocado, banana plants and other species. One of the best of these is the avocado - banana honey.
Single flower honeys
The island also produces single flower honeys, when the nectar comes from a single plant, or from a small number of plants.
This is produced in the spring and summer, at an altitude of over 1500 metres, in the Mt. Teide National Park. This is the oldest honey of Tenerife and the most traditional honey. It is a light amber colour and its delicate flavour makes it ideal for putting in tea and as a breakfast honey.
This is made from the different bugloss species to be found on the island, found mainly in the Arafo and Arico highlands. This is a very light coloured honey with a mild flavour and floral aroma, making it ideal to serve with delicate food, as it does not mask the flavour of the ingredients.
A spring honey, produced in the lowland areas of the island. It has a dark, almost black colour, and a characteristically intense aroma that is reminiscent of caramel and ripe fruit. Because of its intense colour and aroma, it has been used traditionally to kneed with "gofio" corn flour and dried fruits into delicious "pellas".
This is a summer - autumn Honey, when the chestnut trees of the north-facing highland slopes and the Arafo and Candelaria highlands blossom. It is a dark amber colour and has a highly intense and persistent aroma. Ideal to serve with desserts, kneed with "gofio" or with meat and poultry.
This is produced in areas with a mixture of heather, thyme, oregano and holly, in the Corona Forestal Nature Park. Not much of this amber coloured honey is produced. It has an aroma of medium intensity and it is intensely astringent.