Greek honey is, quite simply, divine. Few other foods offer such a combination of wonderful flavour and proven medicinal benefits. The hard-working Greek honey bee enjoys an elevated status in Greece, and rightly so; Greek honey mixes the sweet, delicate fragrance of mountain flowers, with a dose of concentrated Greek sunshine.
Greek Honey and the Blessings of Chloris
Despite the relatively small size of the country, its rich diversity of fragrant, indigenous flowers provides the perfect environment for apiculture. Amongst the rugged and tumbling slopes of Greece’s ancient mountains, rows of beehives are set amongst a kaleidoscopic array of beautiful wildflowers. The Greek spring sees the barren, rocky mountain slopes clad with the blessings of Chloris, the bees frantically taking advantage of this annual abundance.
Most of the Greek mountains are untouched by chemicals, and there are no herbicides or insecticides to disturb the labour of the Greek honeybees. The experienced apiculturist understands sustainable farming, taking only what he needs and leaving the bees with plenty of honey for the hard winter. His symbiosis with the bees is an ancient friendship, and Greek honey stands alongside olive oil as one of the staple Greek foods.
Greek honey is an integral part of the famous Mediterranean diet, long recognised as one of the secrets to good health and long life.
Greek Honey - The Hard Greek Mountains
The best Greek mountain honey comes from the towering White Mountains of Crete, the unforgiving slopes of the Taygetos Mountains, and the parched Mani peninsula. These areas, barren for most of the year, come to life in the spring, as the gentle rain seeps into the limestone. Colourful flowers cling to every crevice, softening the hard mountains and attracting Greek honeybees and butterflies.
What Gives Greek Honey its Unique Flavour?
The rich, complex flavour of Greek honey stems from the unique flowers found in this ancient land. Greek honeybees gorge on nectar from the fragrant thyme, oregano, and rosemary plants, alongside the delicate orange and jasmine blossom. Greece has over 7500 types of flower, with 850 of them are indigenous to the area, and this gives Greek honey its divine blend of delicate floral fragrances and mellow sweetness.
Greek bees have to work very hard for their wealth, and this is what gives Greek honey its characteristic strength and flavour. It is extremely difficult for the bees to extract nectar from the stingy plants, and the bees produce less honey per beehive than in most other areas. The benefit of this is that the honey is dense, containing less water, and the flavours and nutrients are highly concentrated.