Beehives in a garden in Albania
We are excited about this very special cooperation: In September 2018 we will be welcoming the Armbruster Bee School from Germany on the Honey-Trail!
The Prof. Ludwig Armbruster Bee School was founded in 2013 on the occasion of the 3rd Weimar Bee Symposium on the future of beekeeping. The name of the school honours one of the most outstanding bee researcher of the 20th century. Ludwig Armbruster was head of the Institute for Bee Biology and Apiculture in Berlin and took up topics that are until today highly relevant for the future of beekeeping. His life was inextricably linked to the political developments of his time: In 1934, the Nazi forcibly retired him for political reasons at the age of 48, and it was only in 2007 when he was officially rehabilitated as a NS-victim. If you want to find out more about this important apiarist and you happen to be Berlin, we recommend a visit to the permanent exhibition at the museum Domäne Dahlem.
Since 2013, the Armbruster Bee School promotes ecological and bee-friendly beekeeping: The school offers beekeeping training courses and workshops for advanced and professional apiarists and for ‚new-bees‘ as well as a number of study tours each year.
It was a great surprise for us when Jürgen Binder - the founder of the Armbruster Bee School - contacted us and we thoroughly enjoyed the planning process for this tailor-made Honey Trail tour. It will take the group to the South of Albania and takes the time for unique insights and spectacular views: In expert discussions with bee researchers and fellow apiarists, during visits with local beekeepers and organic farmers, in a boat on the wild Vjosa and on foot in the Ceraunian Mountains, over a nice cup of mountain tea or a raki from wild berries. „We will get insights into a world of subsistence beekeeping that is almost history here in Germany “ says Mr. Binder. And we too look forward to this tour!
The itinerary and details of this study tour can be found here. You can book it directly with the Armbruster Bee School, with an Early Bee rate til March 31, 2018:
E-Mail: email@example.com Telephone: 0049 - 170-185 74 24
You are interested in a tailor-made Honey Trail yourself? We also offer them in English and will be happy to discuss your interests and expectations with you!
Albanian stamps, 1995
This colourful find from the archives brightens up our autumn days: Bees have always been a popular subject for postal stamps, because of their beauty but also in order to raise awareness of their ecological importance and vulnerability.
We are happy to share this bee-a-u-tiful honey bee stamp issue from Albania (Shqipëria). And yes, Bleta or Bletë means "bee" ♥
Happy November everyone!
The planning for the 2018 Honey Trail is in full swing!
We are very happy to offer two Honey Trail tours next year. Starting from Tirana, one will explore the North of Albania while the second tour will discover the South of the country:
In May / June, the Honey Trail takes us to the Lezha region, renowned for its sage and heather honey. We continue to Shkoder and, following some first class birdwatching head towards the Albanian Alps. Tropojë is our destination with its vast chestnut forests, famous chestnut honey and near the Gashi river which recently received UNESCO protection as an extension of the World Heritage site of the Primeval Beech Forests.
In early October, the Honey Trail leads us to Albania's three key honey regions: Korça, Përmet in the heart of the Vjosa Valley, one of the last intact large river systems in Europe and Llogara-Palasë with spectacular vistas along the Albanian Riviera. On the way, we visit the national parks of Butrint, Llogara and Fir of Hotova and delve into Albania's ancient history, visiting historic places such as Gjirokastra or the ruins of Butrint.
In addition, we offer tailor-made Honey Trail tours: You are a group of min. 5 persons - friends, hobby beekeepers or professional apiarists - and want to discover Albania long tradition of beekeeping? We will be happy to prepare a unique Honey Trail experience for you.
We will finalise and publish the Honey Trail 2018 tour details in early November. Watch out for more information and our early bee rates here and on our Facebook page.
We look forward to welcoming you on the Honey Trail in 2018!
Albania's climate and vastly beautiful landscape provide ideal conditions for beekeeping and so it is not surprising that Albanian honey, especially the chestnut honey, has enormous (economic) potential:
Since more than 2,000 years, apiculture has been a vital part of Albania's rural economies. Beekeeping is a popular subsidiary industry and very much on the rise, especially in the past 20 years: Back in 1992, the number of beehives was less than 50,000. According to the Albanian Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) this number has grow from about 260,000 in the year 2014 to 303,000 in 2016.
In 2016, Albanian beekeepers produced almost 4.000t of honey. This is still relatively low compared to other european countries - for example, in Germany more than 21.000t were produced in the same year. Yet, compared to the per-capita income in the country, the price is at average 10 EUR/kg relatively high.
But the long tradition of beekeeping and the love for honey and bees in Albania is also reflected in the language: Two different words are used in Albanian when talking about death - one in relation to all animals (ngordh) and one for human beings and bees only (vdes).
In addition to bees and honey specialties the Honey Trail offers a wide variety of gastronomic treasures along the way: These delicious cheese hearts for example are served at the Kuqi organic farm in Marikaj.
Der Latin name of the strawberry tree Arbutus unedo reveals all about its key characteristics: The Celtic „Ar” meaning “sour”, „butus” like the bush and finally „unedo”, which stems from the Latin „unum edo” and means „I only eat one”.
At a time when summer comes to an end and nature is preparing for the upcoming winter, the strawberry tree is flowering - in late fall between October and January. Yet, this is also the time when the bees reduce their activities and start hunkering down for the winter. This makes the Arbutus honey such a rare specialty - aside of the taste: It has a very strong bitter flavor that is loved by gourmets worldwide - Arbutus honey goes very well with cheese.
In Albania, the Arbutus honey is called „Malte mjare“ and since generations it is produced from October to November in der region of Përmet - there in the Vjosa Valley is one of the very few areas in the country where the strawberry tree is widespread. On the Honey Trail in the South of Albania we will visit beekeepers in this area, offering the opportunity to get a taste of this unique honey and learn more about this specialty.