HoneyOne of the most important exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, a museum that houses most of the secrets of the famous Minoan civilization, is an exquisite gold piece of jewellery representing two bees flanking a round portion of honeycomb. This exhibit is the most eloquent witness of the relationship between Cretans and bees. It is the same copper-coloured bee-mentioned by ancient authors- whose delicious, velvety product befits the dinner table of gods; the bee that nested inside the sacred cave, the birthplace of Zeus.

Honey, this exceptionally natural sweetener, contains precious substances and can be consumed even by people suffering from diabetes! It is also rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants. Vitamin E, the basic vitamin in honey, along with other substances, removes harmful substances from the body that either originate from the body itself or are the result of human activities, e.g. smoking, radiation, and consumption of processed food that is usually incriminated for tumour growths.

The honey of Crete is completely natural and is produced in regions of endemic vegetation. The bio-system of Crete is rich in endemic plants, particularly herbs. This vegetation and herbs are the favourite source of food for bees. A tour of the bee-keeping areas of Crete is enough for visitors to understand why Crete produces the most aromatic honey in the world: the beehives are amidst a variegated landscape scented by aromatic bushes and herbs, most of them endemic to Crete.

Since snow covers only the highest mountain peaks, albeit for a few months a year, and owing to the protracted summer season, wild vegetation is always available to bees for foraging. Crete has produced honey since pre-historic times! -- without interruption, as if nothing had changed.

Perhaps the structure of the beehive improved, but all else must have remained unchanged: the bees, the aromatic herbs, the environment. Processing of the Cretan honey is by natural methods, without high temperatures that destroy the vitamins.