Ljubljana – The Slovenian Agriculture Ministry has temporarily protected Istrian honey under the Slovenian-Croatian brand Istrski med/Istarski med at the national level using a protected designation of origin, as Slovenia and Croatia have decided to submit a joint application to the European Commission to register the honey.
The bid has been drawn up by Slovenian beekeepers of the Coastal Beekeeping Society from Koper along with their Croatian colleagues from Istria and the Poreč Agriculture and Tourism Institute, said the ministry in a press release on Tuesday.
The temporary national protection scheme means that the Istrian honey brand is protected only in Slovenia and Croatia until EU-wide protection is granted by the Commission.
Istrian honey may be produced only in Istria, which stretches across the Slovenian-Croatian border. The Slovenian part of Istria covers the area of the four coastal municipalities, whereas in Croatia, the honey is produced on the Istrian peninsula and nearby islands.
Istria is famous for its flora, which is a mix of the Dinaric, Alpine and Mediterranean. Various vegetation habitats are thus found in the Istrian peninsula and this feature reflects in the regional honey, making it unique and of distinctive taste, reads the press release.
The honey samples have confirmed presence of pollen of more than 110 plant species. The types of the Istrian honey include acacia honey, sage honey, chestnut honey, linden honey as well as flower and forest honey.
The Istrian honey is not only produced locally but also packed within the region and branded with a label showing a drop of honey. Before beekeepers start with Istrian honey production, they are required to obtain a relevant approval, the ministry said.
The planned Slovenian-Croatian bid is not the first time the two countries decided to protect an agricultural product together. They were already successful in registering Istrian extra virgin olive oil in 2019 and Istrian prosciutto in 2015.