Honey is an important part of Provençal (and global!) history and cuisine. The Var is the largest honey-producing department in France. Apart from the various varieties of honey, pain d’épices and white and black nougat complete this culinary offering.
High-quality honey with a global reputation
Unique and typical of a ‘flavourful’ region, Provençal honey has a reputation that stretches far beyond regional borders. The wide variety of aromatic plants (over 200 species), particularly adapted to the hard and arid soils of Provence, explains the unique aromatic characteristic of Provençal honey.
The Var is known for the quality of its pollen (especially in the Maures Massif and the Estérel Massif), considered amongst the finest due to the wide variety of southern flowers in this area.
To each his own (honey): clear or dark, delicately fragrant or strong smelling, everyone can find a Provençal honey that they like.
Varieties of honey
- ‘All flower’ Provençal honey: produced throughout the Var, its quality has been recognised with a ‘Red Label’ certification and a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), and has an ‘aromatic, vegetable, floral or fruity’ flavour.
- Rosemary honey (March – April): a light honey that smells and tastes like the heath. It is mostly produced in the perimeter of the Sainte-Baume Massif.
- Springtime white heather honey: notable for its reddish tones, its distinctive smell of liquorice and freshly-tanned leather and caramel and cacao notes.
- Chestnut honey (June): easily recognisable due to its strong character, it ranges from light to dark brown in colour according to its origins, has a strong and penetrating odour and slightly bitter tannic flavour. It is produced in the Maures Massif.
- Lavandar honey (June – July): Provençal honey ‘par excellence’, it is produced in the Haut Var Verdon region, around the Lake of Sainte-Croix. Sought after by food lovers for its distinctive fragrance and taste, it is a beautiful golden-yellow colour or clear, and its quality has been recognised by a ‘Red Label’ certification
- Autumn rose heather honey: a dark brown honey with a strong and lingering aroma, it is often used in jelly.
- Strawberry honey (November): a light and creamy honey with a hint of bitterness, produced mostly in the Maures Massif. You have to try it!
Honey Festival in Arcs-sur-Argens
Every year, the Honey Festival takes place during the first weekend in October, organised by the Provençal Honey appellation producers, in the Medieval village of Arcs-sur-Argens.
Professional beekeepers come to present their produce, alongside other farmers carefully selected to represent other local produce (wine, olive oil, cheese, fruit and vegetables). And of course, there are various free activities to learn more about Provençal beekeeping.