As romance goes, few regions of the world can surpass Calabria, Italy. The “tip of the boot” offers vistas of the sea from rocky shores, and mountainous peaks looming above a coastal border. In the rich soil of Calabria, a bounty of flora grows during long Mediterranean summers. To us at Bee Raw, it sounds like paradise.
The prize of the region is bergamot, a citrus fruit the size of an orange with the color and sour bite of a lemon. Bergamot rind carries an aroma that defies explanation, with an elusive quality that makes its essential oil a prime ingredient in perfumes. Giovanni Maria Farina, the Italian who created the original Eau de Cologne in the early 18th century, said his fragrance reminded him of “an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain.” Today’s scentmakers prize bergamot as a calming oil, popular with practitioners of aromatherapy.
So why bergamot? We’re no scientists, but we recognize something special when we see it (or smell it). Behind every floral honey or wine that offers blackberry on the nose is an array of aroma compounds expressing themselves for our pleasure. No exception to this rule, bergamot contains chemical compounds like limonene, linalyl acetate, and linalool--all guaranteed to smell better than they sound. They smell so good, in fact, that for centuries those in the know have used bergamot as an aphrodisiac, putting the scent in everything from marmalade to candles to Earl Grey tea.
Which brings us back to Calabria’s romantic shores, and that Italian spring morning. Orange blossoms after the rain: the ultimate in natural romance.