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Sierra de Hornachuelos and Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro: honey production


Strange as it may seem, people from Hornachuelos are called "melojos", which means "Pyrenean oak". Not because the locals have anything to do with this variety of oak, but because of the centuries-old production of "meloja", a sweet product obtained from honey yeast. Because honey has been very important in this region for many centuries. In Hornachuelos Nature Reserve, and the nearby Cardeña-Montoro, there is a Mediterranean ecosystem with an amazing variety of flowers, creating the perfect environment for bees and hives. The result is this sticky, strictly organic, nectar of the gods. If you're not afraid of these (completely harmless) fuzzy insects, you can come and discover the work of the beekeepers and their bees, by visiting the hives and the artisan workshops where various products are made, such as honey, pollen and royal jelly.

Sierra de Hornachuelos Nature Reserve, the largest one in Cordoba, has one of the most extensive pasture lands in Andalusia and one of the most important beekeeping centres in the region. In particular, the town of Hornachuelos is top in the province, Córdoba, which is a beekeeping land par excellence. 

Beekeeping is carried out all across the province: there are farms in 44 of the 75 municipalities. The vast majority of hives are found in the regions of the Sierra de Hornachuelos and Cardeña-Montoro Nature Reserves, but also in the Subbética Mountains and Los Pedroches. Hornachuelos has 120 farms, which makes up 60% of the province's beekeeping census. Cordoba's beekeeping sector is made up of more than 60,000 hives and every year there is an event in the capital, Expomiel.

Before or after exploring these nature reserves, including the vast amount of flowers, (especially aromatic ones), you can attend a workshop and visit traditional workplaces to learn about one of the classic ways in which the Mediterranean hills are used. Visitors can also buy products from the hives at the farms: honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Miel Sierra de Montoro, Moramiel and CórdobaViva are some of the companies that offer experiences with the hives, honey and wax workshops, to discover the honey-making processes, tasting of varieties, etc. These activities are offered as part of tourist packages with appealing names such as "queen", drone" or "nurse bee", and also include cultural visits, canoeing, tasting sessions and breakfasts, lunches, and much more.

Honey is life. It is a completely natural product, dark amber in colour, aromatic and with a woody flavour. It also has balsamic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Together with honey, the typical dishes are just as organic and even more substantial (some of them even use honey), based on game meat: venison, wild boar, rabbit and partridge. The most traditional desserts are "meloja" (a kind of honey jam) and "hojuelas" (flower-shaped pastries). A menu fit for a queen (bee)! If you want to burn off the calories afterwards, you can join the 16k Ruta de la Miel run, which has become a tradition in the municipality of Hornachuelos and the surrounding area.

Sierra de Hornachuelos and Sierra de Cardeña-Montoro: honey production