Honey - 5500-year history and its role in Georgian culinary
13 February, 2019
Honey - 5500-year history and its role in Georgian culinary
Georgia is believed to be the birthplace of wine. Telltale chemical signs of wine in the pottery jars, discovered in two Neolithic villages (called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora about 50km (30 miles) south of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia) dates back 5,980 BC. Previously, the earliest evidence of grape wine-making had been found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and dated to 5,400-5,000 BC.

Besides, Georgia claims to be the birthplace of honey. The honey samples discovered in the village
of Sakire, Borjomi (Southern Georgia) are believed to be made by the bees that buzzed in Georgia 5,500 years ago. The 5,500-year-old honey samples are 2000-year older than the samples of Egyptian honey that were considered to be the oldest.
beekeeping_Georgia
Beekeeping in Adjara, Georgia, Photo courtesy: www.nationalgeographic.ge

Historical sources prove that beekeeping was highly developed in Colchis (ancient Georgian region on the coast of the Black Sea), IV century BC. It turns out that a bee with the longest stinger comes from west Georgia, Samegrelo. The bee is called Apis Mellifera Caucasica and that unique bee species is characterized by a long stinger, moderate swarm, and resistance to low temperature. With its long stinger, it can collect much honey and pollinate more flowers.

There are three major types of Beekeeping in Georgia: wild, half-wild and domestic beekeeping. Wild beekeeping implies collecting honey and wax in the wild. During half-wild beekeeping, bee families are taken from the wild and put in a log or clay hives. The hives are located on predetermined destinations such as rocks or forests. Domestic beekeeping means building special hives for bees and observing their reproduction and life cycles domestically.
gozinaki
Georgian honey made Gozinaki

Georgian honey has an important role in the local culinary. The major New Year dessert in Georgia is made with honey. Gozinaki is a traditional Georgian dessert with a crunchy texture, made with honey-fried, caramelized nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. This sweet treat is often cut into diamond shapes.

Related stories:

New technology of beekeeping emerges in Georgia

Gozinaki balls – Extraordinary version of Georgian New Year candy

Georgian wine and how to look after vineyards

Georgian alcohol drinks: wine and Chacha

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