Ah, Greece, so many things we love from there, including the Greek honey! When we first visited Greece in the fall of 2018, we were in love! Not just with the culture and people, but the food as well! We especially were impressed with the Greek Yogurt, but then, we were in Greece so of course it was great! It didn’t take us long to discover how very delicious the Greek honey was in our yogurt!
Our first Greek honey was in Athens and we immediately noticed the difference. The Greek honey had a more distinctive, fresh taste compared to the honey we enjoy back home. We again noticed how much we loved the honey when we went to Milos and Santorini. We became accustomed to having honey with our breakfast each morning!!
In 2019, we visited Crete. Of course we were anxious to try the honey there and it was love at first bite! The Cretan honey tasted similar only seemed to have a bit stronger taste, but oh so good.
So after we got home, I decided not only would I find out why Greek honey tasted so distinctive and woderful, but I was determined to find the best Greek honey. What better time than now, with the Covid-19 social distancing and staying home, to try different honey’s from Greece!
Greek Honey…the Difference
Greek honey is considered by many to be the best honey in the world. Of course I haven’t tried honey from all over the world, but I do think this honey is hard to beat. Greek honey gets its taste, as do other honey’s, from what the bees gather. For example, here in Iowa, the bees gather nectar from clover and therefore we have Clover honey, which, by the way, is very good. In Greece the bees gather from wild flora in the countryside, including thyme, pine, heather and fir. Therefore, honey taste different from different areas in Greece depending on the local flora. Weather and climate also factor in on honey production in Greece. Greece has a dry sunny climate which is perfect for wildflowers and flora.
Greek Honey…Health and History
Greek honey is known to be very healthy. In particular Greek Honey contains anti-cancer, antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antioxidant components. Furthermore, it is unprocessed, and naturally organic. My understanding is the honey from Greece has no added chemicals or pesticides. There are many beekeepers and honey producers in Greece. With this in mind, much of the beekeeping and honey harvesting is done the same as it has been for years and passed down through the generations. Honey was used in Ancient Greece, not only for eating, but for medicinal purposes as well.
There is an island in Greece called Ikaria where people live well into old age and it is believed in part due to the honey. Furthermore, CBS aired a documentary about it and you can click on it here, Ikaria Honey CBS
Sampling Greek Honey
Generally speaking, I have found out it isn’t easy to buy Greek honey in the USA. For one thing, supplies are limited and furthermore, you usually can’t buy direct from Greece. The following are the different honey’s I have been trying over the last month or so and why I like them. Of course, I am going to try to continue trying different honey’s from Greece but so far these are what I have been able to find. For more information, click on the blue links to read more about each honey.
I have no affiliation with any Honey Producers or Distributors. All opinions are my own and I do not receive any compensation for any recomendations.
Sfakiano Honey is from the Saviolakis family. This honey is a raw thyme honey from the White Mountains in Crete and they have been producing honey for over 250 years. I bought The Superior Quality Cretan Thyme Honey and if I had to choose a favorite this would be it.
This honey is very smooth and has a distinctive thyme honey taste yet it isn’t too strong. It tastes so fresh and is so very good. I especially enjoy this in my yogurt each morning and Steve enjoys this in his hot tea each night.
Dina’s Monastiri Greek Honey
Dina’s Monastiri Honey is also from the Heraklion area of the Island of Crete. Said to be made in the traditional way which goes back 3000 years. This is a raw wildflower, coniferous tree and Thyme honey.
I found this honey to be more mild than some of the honey’s I have tried from Greece. Regardless, it still has the distinctive thyme taste and was very good. This is another honey that we enjoy in our morning yogurt and nightly hot tea.
I have found Monastiri Honey through different distributors at varying prices. So you may want to shop around a bit for the best price if you want to order this.
If you have been to Greece, you may have seen Attiki Honey before. As a matter of fact, it was served with our breakfast in Santorini each day, so I already knew I would like this one.
Attiki Honey was founded in Athens in 1928 by two brothers. It is still a family business. This honey is harvested by bee keepers in Greece with the best varieties.
Attiki Honey is more mild than some of the other honey’s but like the others, it has the unique taste that Greek honey is known for.
For the most part, this honey is a bit easier to find and I have found more distributors on line for this honey.
Ikaria Honey comes from the Greek Island of Ikaria. The Island of Ikaria is a blue zone area which means they have a higher portion of healthy people living over 100. You can read more about Ikaria and their way of life by clicking here.
The bees in Ikaria collect nectar from plants, trees, and bushes that grow naturally on the island. This gives the honey an almost wild taste, very earthy. It still has the traditional thyme taste but is more potent, a very rich taste. It doesn’t take much to flavor anything with it.
I have found Honey from Ikaria very hard to come by. It sells out almost as fast as it is offered. When I finally was able to order a jar, I found it from Klio Tea. What I like about ordering from Klio Tea is they send me an email when they have more of the honey in stock. If ordering Ikaria Honey please check prices. I have seen this honey, from places other than Klio Tea, offered for over $200 for a single jar. If you wait, you can buy the same jar for around $25.
Ikaria Anama Honey
Anama Honey from Ikaria is different than the Honey from Ikaria mentioned above as it is harvested from bees who collect honey from Heather. Heather is a shrub in Greece that flowers and grows at high altitudes. In fact, bees produce this honey in the fall.
Anama honey is very thick and granulated. Although I find when I dip it in my hot tea it liquifies very easily. Personally, I think this honey tastes a bit like burnt sugar with a hint of maple which is different from the others I have tried. I have used it in baking despite having read that it may dominate the taste of the food, although I didn’t think so. It is also said that heat destroys some of its nutritional value, regardless, it tasted very good in my bread recipe below.
This honey is one that I also order through Klio Tea.
Greek Fir Honey
This Greek Fir Honey comes from Mt. Taygetos which is by Sparta. Mt. Taygetos is the highest mountain in Greece and is in the Peloponnese area which is a peninsula area in southern Greece.
One of the trees that grows in the forest on this mountain is the Greek Fir. This is where the bees produce their honey.
This is another exceptional honey. As I have mentioned, it is hard to pick a favorite. This honey has a pistachio taste and a mild caramel after taste. Another very good choice. I found this honey to be good when baking because of its unique flavor.
This is another honey that I find hard to find. Again, I order this through Klio Tea.
Wild Thyme & Fragrant Herb Honey
Finally, this is the last Greek Honey that I have sampled! The Wild Thyme & Fragrant Herb Honey comes from Mt Parnassus near Delphi. Delphi is where the ancient ruin of Apollo is located. The bees feast on the nectar from the meadows and countryside high on the mountain.
For the most part, this is a mild tasting thyme honey. The taste of thyme is more subtle and in addition, I think it has a bit of a cotton candy taste!
This one is very good in yogurt and even on ice cream. In addition, it also is good on English Muffins!! I think it is quite addictive!
Like the last few honeys, this one is also has limited availability and again I order this honey through Kilo Tea. Which as I mentioned before, Klio Tea sends out emails when they have the honey in stock.
Honey Wheat Oatmeal Bread
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
- 3/4 cups old fashion oats
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Packets yeast
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons whole oats
- In large bowl combine flours, oats and salt.
- In standing mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm milk.
- Mix in melted butter and 1/3 cup honey.
- Add flour mixer to milk mixture and mix with dough hook to form a dough.
- Knead in mixer with dough hook for 6-8 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with cloth. Let rise until double.
- Remove from bowl. Punch dough down on lightly floured surface.
- Roll dough tightly into a loaf.
- Place in loaf pan and brush with remaining honey, then sprinkle with remaining oats.
- Let rise until doubled.
- Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes or until brown on top.
- Cool on a wire cooking rack.
Chocolate Chip Honey Pecan Bars
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray an 8 x 8 square pan with non-stick baking spray
- In large mixer bowl cream better and sugar. Add salt and flour and vanilla. Beat until crumbly.
- Press mixture firmly into baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove when time is up.
- Meanwhile, in a sauce pan over medium heat, mix filling ingredients except vanilla and pecans over heat. Stir as needed and bring to a simmer. Simmer mixture for one minute.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in pecans and vanilla.
- Spread onto baked crust.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- Bake for another 5 minutes.
- Cool completely on wire rack.
- Cut into pieces and remove from pan.
Honey Pecan Sticky Buns
- 1 package yeast
- 1/2 cup milk, warm
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablesppons butter
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm milk.
- Add melted butter, honey, salt and large egg. Mix well.
- Add 1/2 cup of flour and mix until all ingredients are wet. Let set for 5-10 minutes to let yeast work.
- Add remaining flour. Using dough attachment, mix well.
- Knead with dough attachment for 5-7 minutes.
- Lightly grease large bowl. Put dough in bowl and set in a warm place to rise until double.
- Prepare topping by combining brown sugar, honey, and butter in a sauce pan. Heat on low until sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla.
- Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with baking spray.
- Pour topping in pan. Sprinkle with pecans.
- When dough is doubled, punch down.
- With rolling pin roll in a 10 x 12 rectangle. Add filling by spreading butter on dough, sprinkle sugar and flour over butter, and sprinkle pecans on top.
- Roll dough starting on long side tightly into a log.
- Slice dough with a serrated knife, or using the old fashioned string method, into 9 equal pieces.
- Place each piece, cut side down in square dish.
- Cover and rise until double.
- Bake in preheated 375 degrees oven for 30 minutes. Half way through check to see if tops are browning, if so, cover very loosely with foil until finished.
- Remove from oven and flip over onto a plate. Rolls should flip out nicely with pecans and glazing on top.
Thank you for putting up with my obsession with Greek Honey! Just one of the ways I’m spending my time during this Covid Crisis! I hope you enjoyed it and have the opportunity to try some someday, if you haven’t already! To sum it up, it is all so delicious!!! To knowledge my information is accurate, if not, it isn’t intentional!! If you know of any other great Greek Honey or have any special favorite, let me know!!!