On April 20th and 21st, Relais & Châteaux will open the doors to its pop-up artistic installation, The Joy of Bees, at the florist Lami Fiori in Piazza San Marco.
An oasis in the city’s Brera design district, The Joy of Bees will host twenty thousand bees in an interactive exhibition organized by Relais & Châteaux, offering an in-depth exploration of honey. The immersive art installation was created by the London-based design firm Bompas & Parr, experts of multi-sensory experiences, after an initial run in London in 2016.
The Milan event, organized by Relais & Châteaux, helps to raise awareness about the importance of bees to biodiversity, as well as the impact that climate and environment have on the taste, texture and aroma of honey. The artist and urban beekeeper Olivier Darné will host a contemporary art performance on the theme of honey. Visitors will be able to tune out the sounds of the city, and tune into the buzzing of millions of bees in a specially designed glass beehive.
Beekeeper Dario Pozzolo will present an assortment of honey produced at 24 sustainable hives around the world. He will also propose tastings of unique culinary creations made with honey, prepared by chefs on site and by bartenders from partner establishments. Interview with a honey “sommelier,” bee expert and bee lover:
- Dario Pozzolo, how did you become such a well-known figure in honey?
I’ve worked as a professional beekeeper since 1993 after having long studied bees, honey and their characteristics. I’ve been a member for the past 10 years of the Italian National Order of Honey Testers and I am also a jury member at national and international competitions involving honey. Finally, I teach about honey at schools and universities.
- How did you prepare for The Joy of Bees and the tasting of 24 different honeys?
First, I learn about the honey’s origins, their territory and the flowers that grow there. I get in touch with local beekeepers to discuss their work. I taste the honey to become familiar with their characteristics, color, fragrance, and aromas. The taste of honey depends on the foraged flowers. There are therefore as many textures and tastes to honey as there are flowers in the world. The possibilities are boundless!
- How is honey used in cooking or cocktails?
Honey is a food, it is widely used in cuisine. Its sweet taste goes well not only with desserts, but also with some meats or cheeses for exemple. It is increasingly used by mixologists to create cocktails.
- What are the specificities of a good honey?
Everyone experiences honey differently, depending on the honey’s aromas and texture. But the best guarantee for quality honey is to buy directly from the place of production, from the beekeeper.
- What is the best honey you’ve ever tasted?
I’ve had enormous opportunities in my work to taste honeys with various provenance, each very different from another. There are two whose taste and consistency I especially like: lavender honey from France, and the honey produced in Kiawe Forest in Hawaï, which naturally crystallizes into a smooth, creamy white paste with an easy-to-spread texture similar to butter.