Much of the tradition I grew up with involved customs, food– even the Greek dialect I learned– from the island of Crete, from which both my parents emigrated.
I get excited when I can share a recipe, a story– and now an authentic food product from Crete with my readers.
I’ve spent a lot of time during this quarantine period learning to cook, transcribing my mom’s recipes from her chicken-scratch notes and actually preparing the recipes and sharing them with my online community.
I also shared my Aunt Maria’s recipe for Gemista, which was the go-to recipe that my mom also used when making these wonderful stuffed vegetables.
Finally, I made another great vegetable dish called Briam, that was not only fun to make, but looked great on the table.
On Sunday, May 24th, I’ll be on Facebook Live again for my 10th episode of “Live With Gregory Pappas” creating some exciting treats that include, as a main ingredient, honey.
I’m excited for this opportunity to tell you about some of the purest, tastiest and healthiest honey on earth, straight from the mountains of the wild and rugged region of Sfakia in Western Crete, harvested by the Saviolakis Family.
You can get it delivered straight to your home anywhere in the United States (sorry, we can’t ship this internationally yet)!
The Saviolakis family in Crete, Greece has been collecting raw thyme honey from the White Mountains around Sfakia for more than 10 generations, or 250 years. This makes them the oldest continuous beekeeping family on the island — and perhaps in all of Greece.
Sfakia produces the best and healthiest thyme honey in the world because of the region’s unique climate coupled with its topography and geography. The proximity of the stunning Lefka Ori (White Mountains) and their sudden drop straight into the ocean cause the thyme flower to bloom at a very high altitude.
When chatting with Andreas Saviolakis, he reminded me that his family members are “farmers and bee keepers first and foremost.”
They only sell their own single-source raw thyme honey. No antibiotics or pesticides are ever used– confirmed by FDA inspection and other chemical analysis that they perform regularly. They also pay strict attention to the diet and health of their precious bees.
Saviolakis Family honey is a true thyme honey as opposed to one with wildflowers, pine, polyflora, or labels that say “with thyme.” European and Greek legislation states that for a honey to contain ONLY the words “thyme honey” in its name, it must have more than 18% thyme content. Depending on the season, Saviolakis Family honey has consistently more than 30%.
Of all the Greek honeys, thyme is considered the best and rarest because the collecting season is only a few weeks in the summer — from late June to August (depending on elevation). This means that the amount of thyme honey the bees produce is a lot less compared to other types.
When the thyme flower blooms it makes the entire landscape a beautiful bright purple color. A prominent research study of honeys in Greece showed that the thyme honey from the area of Sfakia had the highest anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties by far amongst all Greek honeys.
Some National Institute of Health research papers also mention the possible anti-oxidant and cancer preventative effects of Cretan thyme honey and its superiority to even Manuka honey.
Order your own Cretan honey from Sfakia, produced by the Saviolakis Family
Ultra premium jar (340gr) of raw thyme honey collected exclusively at an altitude of 4,500 feet in the White Mountains of Sfakia, Crete, Greece. The elevation products a richer and denser flavor with a floral profile, which in addition to the thyme flower contains the magical Cretan mountain herbs of malotira and dictamus. Click below to purchase. (*Price includes shipping to any US address. Sorry, we cannot ship honey to international addresses at this time!)