THE “BARENA” HONEY (CAPE CORDGRASS HONEY)

The barena honey is typical in lagoon areas where the sea banks borders with the salt water. The barene are emerged lands near and inside the lagoon. According to scholars the name is derived from “baro”, the common name to indicate a thick mantle of shrubs or an uncultivated marshy terrain. The aspect is that of a low and flat island, with substrates formed by prevalently silt-clayey sediments.

These almost always submersed areas are occupied by a particular Graminea, lo sparto delle barene, Spartina maritima (Limonio-Spartinetum maritimae): it is thought to have been accidently introduced from the Atlantic coast, but it is perfectly integrated thanks to the high sea tides that characterize the high Adriatic and that makes it ecologically similar to the Atlantic Ocean.

The type of flowers from which is cultivated the barena honey is the common species of the Limonium, from the Plumbaginaceae family – commonly called fiorella di barena, or “barena flower” which has a medium consistency and an opaque yellowish colour. Its flowering time is from the end of June to the middle of September.

The production of the barena honey, in the Venetian lagoon, goes back to the end of the 1800’s: as part of the process of the production, beehives were permanently stationed in the barena zones or, more often taken to the site by the bee-keepers around the middle of July and placed on pile-dwellings.

The barena honey is one of the more typical Italian salty honey, along with the elicriso, the so-called Tuscany beach honey, and the Sardinian corbezzolo. The barena honey is characterized by a slightly bitter taste with a strong mineral trace and a dark red colour. From a sensorial point of view, it approaches the honey of Corbezzolo, without its persistent bitter highlights, leaving the palate with a pleasant salty note.