Bees, honey, and beekeeping have a long and rich tradition in Greece. According to Greek mythology, Greece’s first beekeeper was the demigod Aristaeus and there was a sacred cave full of bees in Crete where Rhea gave birth to Zeus. Aristaeus, the beekeeper, was said to have learned beekeeping as a child from the Nymphs who raised him and to have later passed his knowledge on to humans.
Greece has the greatest density of bee colonies in Europe, at 11.4 colonies per square kilometer. Greek honey also consistently wins awards for being some of the best in the world. This is the result of not only the craftsmanship and history that goes into the production of the honey, but the natural abundance and microclimates found in Greece. Greece’s islands, mountains, and forests foster a variety of plant life not found in many other places.
The country’s dry Aegean summer sunshine and heat give Greece’s herbs, such as its thyme, a potency not found elsewhere. The bees feed on the nectar from these potent herbs and that potency is passed along to the honey they produce. Greek honey is also richer in aroma than other honeys and is often denser due to the lack of humidity.
Honey is nutrient-dense; it’s full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and contains antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It has been used for centuries to treat everything from sore throats to minor burns and cuts and bacterial infections.
Honey is produced all throughout Greece, however Crete is renowned specifically for its thyme honey.
Thyme-fed bees produce less honey, which makes thyme honey rarer and more sought after. Thyme honey is light in color with an intense herbal aroma. It is produced in spring, when thyme flowers. The most famous thyme honeys are from Crete and Kythera.
Pine honey has a mahogany color that highlights its rich mineral and antioxidant content - the highest of all Greek honey. It contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and sodium.
We were very intentional when harvesting our Teas & Trees Thyme-Pine Honey to create the most potent, aromatic, and antioxidant-rich Cretan honey from healthy and happy bees. Pairs well with any of our teas, especially Love and Cliff.