The amber of Cyclades
There is a food for every spoonful of which 2000 souls must work, a food which has survived intact in 2000-year-old jars, which heals wounds and sweetens human life through the centuries. The thyme honey of the Cyclades resembles a gold deposit and is a fundamental value of the island nutrition – a sweet remedy in amber colour.
Thyme honey is considered a super food. This is neither a market term nor one of the usual fashions which inundate internet and the holistic magazines. Its colour is amber, with an intense aroma reminiscent of vanilla, leaving a strong taste in the palate and a light sharpness in the throat. It is the pride of the Cycladic nature, a flavourful memento each visitor must take with him, a gift which will give pleasure. The strong presence of thyme and the limited variety of other flowers on our islands bring the bees to an amazing deadlock. They feed almost exclusively on thyme pollen, thus producing one of the best one-variety honeys in the world. The Cycladic thyme honey!
Why thyme honey?
Thyme honey is rich in trace elements (iron, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium). Thyme is renowned for its antiseptic properties and its high antioxidant action. It is beneficial for the treatment of stomach and intestine ailments and greatly relieves cough and the other symptoms of cold and flu. It also helps with stress, exhaustion and mental decline. It is a natural tranquilizer and offers protection against breast and prostate cancer.
Paros has always been a honey producing land. It is a dry, fragrant bee habitat with its first beehives having been built of stone in natural recesses in drywalls or in hollow trees. In them the bee colony developed its complicated life. Later, we had earthen beehives shaped like jars, about one meter high, with a narrow mouth just allowing the bees to go in and come out and also protecting them from rain αand winds. In the past, beekeepers also built the famous bee sheds which were stone terraces aimed at protecting the bee colonies from rushing water and, mainly, from winds. Not so common was the use of baskets as beehives. These woven beehives were usually placed in the house yard at a windless spot and were used to provide honey just for the family’s needs.
When the weather has been favorable and some blessed rains have fallen in the spring, thyme becomes the master of the game and the summer harvest is a real miracle. However, no honey is 100 % thyme honey. The bees visit many kinds of plants and flowers. On the island, besides thyme, we have a number of other honey plants: liodromos (a kind of sunflower), ardikas and koufardikas (Ferula communis), astragouras, akonizia, bluebells and the gorgeous yellow sea poppy. Every small flower on the naked island landscape is not only pretty but also useful, when thyme does not suffice.
How you can recognize pure honey
Honey reveals itself both to the eye and the nose. It must be thick, compact and fragrant, with a full taste and a nice color. Examine its liquidity in the vase. The thicker and more viscous it is, the less its water content. Tilt the vase and let the honey fall on the plate. If it flows smoothly, this is an indication that the honey is unadulterated. Another way is to put a spoonful of honey in a glass of cold water. If the honey contains glucose, which dissolves in the water instantaneously, the honey will also dissolve, but if the honey is pure, it will go down to the glass bottom intact.
Argiris Loukis | “Honey of Paros”
The relation with the bee colony is not easy we are told by the young beekeeper Argiris Loukis, producer of the brand “Honey of Paros”. It is a life relation, you dedicate yourself to the bee colony, and you want to find out its secrets one by one, to trust it and to be trusted as well. A bee colony is a perfect system. An example of organization and care but also of strictness. It wants you to be close to it and also to be calm, clean and free of other thoughts. When you are there, body and soul, you must be there. When I submitted the documents for the social security agency, I was registered as a stock breeder. For a moment, I was surprised. But they are right. The bee colony is a body. It is an animal. United, intelligent, adorable. Only if you see it in this way you can deal with it and understand it.
For bees and beekeepers things are not easy on Paros. The flora is poor, rains are rare, the winds are merciless and the danger of fire from the bee smokers is a permanent threat. Here, we only have one honey harvest and the yield is usually small. But the product, if you are honest with your bee colony and your clients is of premium quality. No industry can aspire to such a quality. The Parian thyme honey contains thyme pollen grain between 50% to 80%, thus acting as a quality ambassador all over the planet.
Anyway, a local product is the new trend in souvenirs!
More info HERE
Yiannis Haniotis | “Banayianni Honey”
Thyme honey is a prime honey with its own identity and its own unique composition. It is a honey which we must promote and protect.
My relation with beekeeping has always been a relation of love. I still state that I am an amateur beekeeper, because from the very beginning my motives were not commercial.
I began with only one beehive. I fell in love with the hive and it also loved me. I am a lover of the beekeeping art. When you start on your own, things are not easy. No one reveals their secrets; the mouths are shut. However, after my first production, the reactions were very encouraging. The beehives multiplied and my honey acquired an identity.
My beehives are at Lefkes, where there is efflorescence all year round and natural water. Thus, I let Nature be the “master” of the game. The more you listen to your beehives, the less you intervene. The bee colony speaks to you… However, only if you standardize and follow the rules you can claim the public’s respect. My honey has now acquired an identity and the feedback from honey exhibitions and festivals is enthusiastic. In the previous festival I was awarded the public’s prize for my packaging.
More info HERE