Honey tasting course

How well do you know your honeys?

The next editions of a honey sensory analysis course in English are going to be held in Bologna in June and November 2018:

  • June, 12th – 14th 2018
  • November 13th – 15th 2018

The goal of the course is to increase awareness of and expertise in honey and to provide participants with a methodology that enables them to assess the quality and variety of honeys. For beekeepers and packagers it will be useful for correct labelling and better product presentation and for honey lovers in general, for better choice and appreciation of honey.

The course is intended preferably for beekeepers and technicians, but also to other professionals who are in contact with honey (such as herbalists, nutritionists, dieticians), and all those who are eager to expand their knowledge of honey and learn how to use sensory analysis as a tool for quality assessment.

Anybody can attend the course. The course is 24 hours in length.

DATE: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - June, 12th – 14th, 2018

TIME: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

LOCATION: CNR via Gobetti, 101 Bologna, Italy

COST: 340 € per person

INSTRUCTORS: Raffaele Dall’Olio, Gian Luigi Marcazzan, Lucia Piana, Andrea Tibaldi

NOTE: Additional 4 hours teaching, on Friday June 15th (9AM-1PM), are needed for those who are willing to have their certificate of attendance accredited by the National Register of the Experts in Sensory Analysis of Honey. An extra cost of 80€ will be asked on site to participants who are willing to stay.

PRE-REGISTRATION FOR JUNE CLASS (deadline May 31st , 2018)

To enrol, download the application form by clicking here, fill it in and send it to the above email.

Participants will be limited to about 24 to maintain an informal interactive format.

The class will be activated if at least 12 participants are taking part in the course.

About the class

You will learn how honey is produced by bees and by beekeepers and all the hidden dangers honey production encounters.

You will test how sensitive your senses are and will improve your sensory discrimination capability.

You will taste more than 15 varieties of selected high quality honey, and be trained to recognize defects in honey.

You will learn to detect the flavour profiles of honeys.

You will experience being a judge in a mock honey competition.

Honeys tasted will include (but are not limited to):

  • Asphodel (Asphodelus microcarpus)
  • Citrus (Citrus spp.)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • False acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • French honeysuckle (Hedysarum coronarium)
  • Gum tree (Eucalyptus spp.)
  • Honeydew honeys
  • Lime (Tilia spp.)
  • Rape (Brassica napus)
  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)
  • Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo)
  • Sunflower (Helianthus annus)
  • Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa)
  • Thistle (Galactites tomentosa)
  • Thyme (Thymus capitatus)

Participants who are producers are invited to bring their own honey. It will be tasted by all.

For detailed program see here.


The teachers belong to the “Teaching body” recognised by the Italian Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey.

Gian Luigi Marcazzan

Gian Luigi Marcazzan is the leader of the Honey Sensory group within the International Honey Commission and the President of the Italian Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey. He has been a researcher and technical manager for honey quality control by chemical and sensory analysis at the Agricultural Research council in Bologna, Italy for 26 years. Gian Luigi has served as a panel leader for the international honey competition BioMiel.

Dall'Olio Raffaele

Raffaele Dall’Olio is a beekeeper and animal biologist with a master’s degree in honeybee pathogens diagnostic, skilled in artificial insemination of honeybee queens. He has more than 10 year of experience in honeybee research and teaching focusing on genetic conservation of honeybee races, detection of pathogens and viruses, improving quality of beekeeping products. He's member of the international research networks COLOSS (on Colony Losses) and RNSBB (about Sustainable Bee Breeding). Raffaele has commercial experience with 150 hives in Tuscany, Italy and queen-rearing experience and manuka honey in New Zealand. As an internationally sought out speaker including Apimondia and the European Conference of Apidology, Raffaele has more than 10 years experience as a teacher and professional honey taster and panel leader for the Italian National Register of Professional Honey Taster and member of official Panel Test at CRA-API lab since 2005 and in several Honey Contests. In 2015, he found “AsSenso”, sensory analyses as an R&D tool for businesses. Raffaele also has written for national beekeeping magazines in Italy such as L’apicoltore italiano, Lapis and APOidea.

Lucia Piana

Lucia Piana is a biologist and she spent her entire professional life on honey related topics. For the first 12 years, she worked as quality responsible in a honey company, doing honey analysis (physico-chemical, melissopalinological and sensory). From 1991 she worked as consultant for different companies, research institutions and beekeepers organizations, in Italy as in other countries, mainly in the field of honey quality and teaching sensory analysis of honey. From 2006 she founded her own company, now Piana Ricerca e Consulenza srl, a laboratory and consultancy company offering a full range of services, mainly melissopalinoligical analysis and honey tasting courses. From 1981, she acts as technical responsible of the main Italian honey contest, organized by Osservatorio Nazionale Miele. She is between the founders of the Italian National Register of Honey Sensory Experts and she continues teaching in training courses defined from the Register. To the date, she has conducted more than 450 sensory training courses and seminars, spoke in more than 350 lectures and conferences and wrote more than 150 technical articles.

Class schedule

The class is planned to be conducted twice a year. It will last three days, seven hours of lessons per day.

What you will learn

  • to become more aware of your senses learn how to identify 7 basic aromas and flavors families in honeys.
  • write detailed tasting notes using the honey aroma and flavor wheel brush up on the composition and physical properties of honey.
  • enrich your vocabulary for describing honey through descriptors.
  • the difference between taste and flavor through sensory exercises.
  • to recognize the flavours of honey and train your honey palette
  • taste and learn about 15 important honeys and their floral sources.
  • understand the how’s and why’s of crystallization, and how to evaluate its qualities.
  • learn about the causes of defects in honey and how to avoid them.
  • how to use a chart for honey evaluation.
  • how to handle, treat and store honey for a better presentation.
  • the rules for honey labelling and marketing.
  • use your knowledge to confidently pair honey with cheeses, wines and all ingredients to compliment sweet and savory dishes.

What you will get

  • A tasting of at least 15 varieties of honey selected from beekeepers and honey competitions all over Italy
  • Notes on the flavours of honey
  • The PDF files of the slides presented in the class

If you have any further questions, ask us in an email:

Gian Luigi Marcazzan gianluigi.marcazzan@crea.gov.it

Raffaele Dall’Olio raffaele.dallolio@gmail.com

PRE-REGISTRATION FOR NOVEMBER CLASS (deadline October 31st , 2018)

To enrol, download the application form by clicking here, fill it in and send it to the above email.

Participants will be limited to about 24 to maintain an informal interactive format.

The class will be activated if at least 12 participants are taking part in the course.