Greece has a long tradition in apiculture (the art of bee keeping) and has more beehives per acre than any other country in Europe. Apiculture took place for the first time in early prehistoric times in Greece. The myth tells us that Nectar was the food of the Gods in Olympus and that Zeus was raised on honey. In East Crete the combination of the soil and it’s micro climate gives a unique honey with superior taste. Long hours of sunshine and the presence for a wide variety of flora makes Eastern Crete a perfect place for apiculture. Different varieties of honey are available of which few varieties such as authentic thyme honey are derived from aromatic plants that can be found only in Greece and especially Crete.
Thyme nectar is derived in specially selected areas from the nectar of wild thyme and garden thyme species of Thyme. Thyme is a member of the nectar-producing mint family, Lamiaceae, the source of other flavourful honeys such as mint, sage, oregano, and lavender. It is collected by bees in the remote, sun drenched areas of Eastern Crete and considered as one of the best in the world. It is produced only during a very short period of the year from middle of June to middle of July. The colour of East Crete Thyme honey is light amber to amber when liquid, beige to brown when it is crystallised. It is a very strong, intensely aromatic honey with resinous, herbal, savoury flavours; fresh and reminiscent of tropical fruits, dates and white pepper and a splendid aftertaste.
References to honey in Greece are over two thousand years old. Honey is referenced in many classical texts in medical, social and religious contexts and it continues to be incorporated in modern life. The Grecian father of medicine, Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC), wrote, “Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.” And the Greek philosopher, Aristotle believed that “honey is good as a salve for soar eyes and wounds”.
As already presented in greek mythology, Thyme honey is an essential part and healthy additive of the cretan diet. It consist of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, with emphasis on the urinary and digestive system. The honey helps the body to cast cholesterol, and is an alternative that works well for children with fever or adults with prostate infection. Please note that honey should not be given to children under 1 year.
Thyme honey is considered one of the most valuable, nutritious and healthiest foods. Having it in our daily diet gives us vitality and contributes to a healthier and longer life. Have it with meat, cheese or as a substitute for sugar in sweet dishes. The best way to eat this Greek thyme honey is by drizzling it over the special Greek yogurt and to spice up the taste you can add a few nuts.