Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Attiki Greek (thyme) honey, Athens, Greece

Greece is known for, amongst other things, its honey, especially it thyme honey. It is blessed with a hot, sunny climate and well-drained soil that is ideal for the cultivation of thyme as well as other wild flora.

Thyme is native to the Mediterranean and a member of the mint family- and it is a large family. Over 100 species of thyme are known. It is a versatile, aromatic herb that has been used extensively in cooking. In fact, the general rule for using herbs in cooking is "when in doubt, use thyme."

Common Thyme

Throughout history thyme has also been used for other purposes: ancient Egyptians used it in embalming; ancient Greeks burnt it in their temples; Romans used it to purify their rooms à la Fabreeze; and in the Middle Ages it was placed under pillows to ward off nightmares. In addition it was a symbol of courage, embroidered on scarves and given as favors to the bravest knights, was used to preserve linen from insects, and used as an antiseptic. It seems that if you were stranded on a desert island, thyme might be all you would ever need.

The Bee Culturing Company [Alexandros Pittas, SA, Athens], a family business, produces two types of honey: Attiki and Fino. Attiki is honey from thyme and other wild flora, and Fino is forest honey. They claim that many of the wild flora that are the floral sources in Attiki honey are unique to the Greek countryside and produce a distinctive rich, complex (and heady) flavor. The business basically contracts with local honey producers throughout Greece and packs and distributes the honey internationally (in addition to offering training and other support to beekeepers). They have been doing this since 1928. They have a wonderful website with a few unique features. One is if you input the lot number of your honey it will tell you where it was produced and give you a little information about the apiarist and the area. Very cool:
Thyme hillsides in Crete

 They also have a recipe section with Greek honey recipes. Yum:

The Attiki honey I have is dark amber and slightly crystallized. It has a subtle herbal smell to it with an undertone of sweetness. It is a thick honey, that swirls in a dark, glassy way. My toothpick stands up in it. It is sweet but not overly so, with an herbal, savory taste that is even more evident in the after taste. It is so thick and smooth that it rolls around like a candy melting. I detect a hint of clove and has a subtle medicinal taste near the end, which is more pleasant than it sounds.

Attiki Greek Thyme/flora honey
Overall, it is a good quality honey with a complex, unique texture and flavor. Given the thickness, I can see why it is a favorite to drizzle over yoghurt, but it may also work well in cooking (I think it would complement the flavors of nuts very well), on toast, or hot cereal. To use it in Greek recipes, don't forget to check out the Attiki website.   If your local shops don't carry it, you can find a variety of suppliers online (including amazon), just type in Attiki Greek Honey into a search engine.

No comments:

Post a Comment