The land and climate of Sardinia are perfect for the cultivation of many Mediterranean species of plants and trees, including the strawberry tree, which is called Corbezzolo in Italian. The pristine nature of the rugged countryside around Monte Limbara in Sardinia's northern-most province of Sassari - the air, the water, the land - are home to numerous strawberry trees that bees find highly attractive.
The strawberry tree, also known as the arbutus, is an evergreen growing to 20 feet. Has an upright stem with reddish bark, leathery serrated leaves, white or pink bell-shaped flowers, and round warty red fruit resembling strawberries. It is in leaf all year, in flower from November to December, and the seeds ripen from October to December. The flowers have a soft, honey-like scent that is attractive to bees. It is native to Sardinia, Corsica, and the coast of Italy. The fruit is very bitter. While the flowers are sweet smelling, the highly prized honey produced from its nectar has significant bitter notes. It is used as an accompaniment to strongly flavored cheese.
The famed artisan confectioner Rau from the town of Berchidda deals directly with local beekeepers who produce some of the most flavorful honeys we've ever tasted. He buys their honey in its pristine state and packages it for sale in Sardinia, Italy and now here in the USA.
The first tourists that visited Sardinia and discovered its beauty at a time when tourism had not yet become a mass phenomenon, tasted the most genuine and best of Sardinian agricultural and food products. Rau was already there, its name and state from the very start associated with the magical moments spent in this generous wild land of Sardinia. The success of Rau products, however, was not accidental but the fruit of the experience of master confectioners, who for three generations have chosen the best materials to make Sardinian confectionery art.
Rau's main secret is marvelous nature with its profusion of unique fragrances that render the work of Berchidda master confectioners easy. Myrtle, prickly pears, almonds, hazel nuts, chestnuts, citrus fruits, grapes, fresh fruits and honey all come from the delicate, perfect biological balance of the Sardinian natural habitat, guaranteed by an unpolluted environment, certified by the wind that redresses the balance each time.