In Italy there is a long tradition of honey sensory analysis. The first honey sensory analysis course was held in 1979. In 1988 an Italian National Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey was founded and it was officially recognized by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture in 1999.
The Italian National Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey is the body that ensures the validity of qualitative assessment and opinion on the botanical origin of honey provided through sensory analysis. The Register guarantees an adequate and uniform professional base for the members and their qualification to be part of official tasting groups.
In order to be recognized (certified) by the National Register the honey sensory courses must match specific requisites that are established by and reported in the Register’s regulation. Teachers should belong to the “teacher body” of the register.
The international classes we provide in English are officially validated by the Register. In these classes, we also taste honey from all over the world that is brought by the attendees. You can read about the program on the website. You can read more infos about the Italian National Register here but, alas, everything it’s in Italian language only.
To enrol as honey sensory expert for the Italian National Register you need to complete the three stages and pass the final exam (the exam is part of the third and last course). You will receive a certificate for each Stage that you complete, to advance to the next stage. You can choose to repeat any stage how many times you want until you feel confident enough to advance to the next Stage; each level teaches different skills.
The first course, called “Introductory course to the sensory analysis of honey” (Stage 1) lasts four days and contains 28 hours of lessons. It is a very intensive course and theory lessons are alternated with practical lessons in which the future assessor is taught to improve their focus when using the senses and learn to describe and memorize their sensory perceptions of the most common unifloral Italian honeys. The course teaches a method through which honey is assessed and judged objectively.
The second course is called “Improvement course in sensory analysis of honey – 1st level” (Stage 2). You can attend it 4 or more months after you have completed the introductory course. This course lasts three days with seven hours of lessons per day. At this level the main sensory characteristics of the unifloral honeys are revised, numerous practical exercises are done, particularly in the use of the forms used in judging the products. The course is focused on honey evaluation and it completes the knowledge and skills of the assessors giving them a complete vision on what honey sensory analysis is about. Furthermore, it prepares attendees to face the third and final stage in which their capabilities will be tested through a challenging three-day-exam.
The “Improvement course in sensory analysis of honey – 2nd level” (Stage 3) is basically an exam. You can attend it 3 or more months after you have completed the improvement course (Stage 2). After a revision of the most significant sensory characteristics of the unifloral honeys, the practical and written exams begin and are held over three days. All tests are then evaluated. Everyone who reaches satisfactory results (the scoring system is explained during Stage2) can ask to be registered on the Italian National Register.