One of the most famous icons of Minoan civilization in the Archaeological Museum at Herakleion – where the best collection of material of that date is housed – is a beautiful piece of gold jewellery: two bees facing each other on a flower or a honeycomb. The object bears reliable witness to the close relationship the Cretan has with the bee.
Honey, that excellent sweetener, is a food rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants. The main vitamin present (namely E), in combination with other substances, is employed to expel from our bodies toxins of our own production or ingested from outside us – from smoking, radiation and various carcinogens. Cretan honey is a completely natural substance, produced in regions rich in native flora.
The bio-system of the island is rich in endemic plants, and especially in aromatic herbs. These provide the Cretan bees with their favourite foods.
The island is rich in native species: thyme, sage, the bramble, rigani, pine and acacia, arbutus and the introduced eucalypt and the cultivated citrus fruits.
Cretan honey is conducted in a natural manner, without resort to high temperatures that destroy vitamins.
The Cretan bee belongs to the genus Apis, species Apis mellifica.