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Follow the bees!

 

Beekeepers and their products which have instigated the celebration of World Bee Day

Meet the indigenous Carniolan honey bee, kranjska sivka, when trying honey and other honey products, dishes and beverages.

Slovenian beekeepers care for about 200,000 bee families, which collect Slovenian honey with protected designation of origin all over some 20,000 square kilometres large Slovenia. Their products are incorporated in numerous Slovenian delicacies.

Beekeeping
Photo: Marko Šinkovec
World Bee Day is celebrated on 20 May, the birthday of Anton Janša, the pioneer of European beekeeping, born in 1747 near Radovljica.

One of the capitals of Slovenian beekeeping is Radovljica, where you can learn more about the work of the famous Anton Janša, Slovenian beehives with painted panels and other particularities of Slovenian bee-keeping at the Museum of Apiculture. In the honeybread workshop near the Museum, you can see how honeybread delights are made.

Only kranjska sivka, the Slovenian honey bee, collects Slovenian honey

Slovenia is the only European country where beekeeping is only permitted with indigenous honey bees.

Due to its peaceful nature, good orientation, immunity to diseases and other qualities, kranjska sivka is popular around the world. In Slovenia, the bee lives in typical original hives with painted panels. The quality of its products has been proven. The Slovenian honey is equipped with a protected designation of origin , Kočevje forest honey and Karst honey are also equipped with the label of protected geographical indication.

In addition to honey, consumed independently or as an ingredient in many Slovenian dishes and beverages, beekeepers also offer pollen, propolis, royal jelly and various other products. Apitherapies are available in certain beehives.

Slovenian honey

The Slovenian honey

You will recognise it by protected geographical indication, shape of the jar and the label testifying of the controlled and traceable origin.

Forest honey from Kočevje

Kočevje forest honey

Bees collect forest, spruce, fir and linden honey in the Kočevsko region, the most forested region of Slovenia with preserved primeval forests.

Karst honey

The Karst honey

Acacia, flower, forest, linden, chestnut, wild cherry and St Lucie cherry honey from the Karst are varieties renowned for their special aromas.

A sweet but healthy breakfast starts with honey on bread, in tea or even in coffee

Honey, more and more popular as a natural sweetener, is part of the traditional Slovenian breakfast.

At the beekeepers’ initiative, the Slovenian traditional breakfast with honey, organised once a year for Slovenian schoolchildren, is to grow into the European honey breakfast. Together with World Bee Day declared in 2017, the event would serve for raising the awareness about bees as pollinators of cultivated plants and honey as healthy food.

Photo: Luka Karlin

Meet beekeepers and taste honey delights at special events around Slovenia

The land of honey is represented by the days of honey, local beekeepers’ events and festivals, and even a Bee Shrovetide Carnival.

A marketplace offering honey products and tasting of honey and honey beverages is usually organised at the Honey Festival in Lesce. It is similar at the beekeeping holiday event in Gornji Grad in July, and the Europark Honey Festival in Maribor. The Bee Shrovetide Carnival takes place in Bled where bees enjoy honey biscuits.

Beekeeper
Photo: Jošt Gantar

Beekeeper

The decorated honeybread hearts, once sold at fairs, carried meaningful messages. The goods made of honey were laid on festive tables, and honey beverages were only accessible to higher classes.

The most traditional particularities and goods include:
honeybread making – colourfully decorated biscuits hand-made from honey; the craft has been entered in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovenia;
baking of Dražgoše and Loka small bread buns made of honey, typical of Škofja Loka, and a wide variety of honeybread biscuits and honey cakes and potica, whose aroma is a characteristic of holidays;
– distilling alcoholic beverages, such as mead according to a recipe from 1689, honey liqueur and honey brandy, and as of late, also honey beer and honey sparkling wine.

Apiary
Apiary in Bohinj
Photo: Jošt Gantar

Love for honey is also obvious in top restaurants, particularly in beekeeping destinations

The whole of Slovenia is characterised by beekeeping, and certain places are being developed into wholesome beekeeping destinations.

Care for bees, inclusion of beekeepers in experiences and the development of honey cuisine are typical of Sweet Radovljica and other tourist destinations of the Gorenjske region; honey flavours supplement the offer in the spa and brewing town of Laško; accommodation connected to bees enriches the offer of the Upper Savinja Valley, and apitourism is available in many other destinations.

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