Since long time ago, the Maltese Islands were famous in the ancient world, for the special blended and spicy honey and in fact the Greeks named the island as ‘Melite’ with the Romans renaming it to ‘Melita’.
The marvellous honey characteristics are attributed to the vast range of wild flowers within the Maltese Islands. The honey is a blend of the seasonal flora, and not of just one particular crop, although the largest amount of pollen and nectar, generally influences the taste, like in the case of wild thyme, citrus and carob honey. About 1000 species of mostly wild flora flowers are identified in Malta like; Wild Thyme, White Clover, Bitumen Clover, White Mustard, and Borage. The carob, citrus and stone fruit trees also help to give the honey a more special taste.
Bees may travel as far as 5 miles away from their hive and visit more than two hundred flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a drop of honey. The honey bee is known to have inhabited the Maltese Islands for centuries and a sub-species has been identified as different from other Mediterranean bees being slightly smaller in size, dark in colour with apparently no yellow bands, incredibly resistant to diseases, viscous and highly active.
Apart from the unique spicy taste, Maltese honey has been found to be useful for its healing properties especially in the case of colds and cough.
In Malta, a traditional sweet made with honey known by many is the traditional honey ring “qagħaq tal-għasel”.