On the Spatha Peninsula, from the high, rocky coastline around the Bay of Menies, the nymph Diktynna, or Vritomaris, daughter of Zeus and Carme, leapt into the sea and was saved by having fallen into the nets of fishermen. King Minos, in love with her, fervently pursued her and violated her. Vritomartis,
faithful follower of Artemis, devotee to her ways and to nature and the hunt, was named Diktynna by the ancient Kydons, who, in honour of her story, dedicated the area to her and worshipped her as the goddess of nature, the hunt and the mountains in the most resplendent temple of ancient Crete, the Δικτυνναίο ιερό, or the Temple of Diktynna.
On the peninsula of Rodopos (‘Spatha’ or ‘Spathi’), where Artemis and Diktynna played, laughed and hunted together, and where reality blends with myth, every summer we transport our beehives to the “apiary of the North”, participating as well in the eternal hunt of nectar, colours and scents, whose season offers us blossoming thyme.
There on Spatha the bees mingle with thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and false dittany—or Greek horehound (Ballota pseudodictamnus)—which flourish in the area. The honey harvested from the Spatha Peninsula is a highly aromatic, golden, more fluid thyme honey.
The “apiary of the South” is situated outside the village of Koustoyerako, in the Selino region of Chania. It is located in an area of exceptional beauty overlooking the gorge of Aghias Irinis, on the western edge of the White Mountains. There the bees collect nectar primarily from thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and from more rare aromatic herbs such as wild marjoram (Origanum majorana L.), mountain tea (Sideritis syriaca), Cretan dittany (Origanum dictamnus)—which is endemic to Crete, and white thyme (Satureja spinosa L.), amongst others.
Thyme honey is characterised by its particularly intense and flowery fragrance, its light amber colour and an intense sweetness which can produce a slight burning in the throat. Its highly tonic and antiseptic properties are attributed to a high percentage of phenolic compounds, thymol and carvacrol.
Melistihos Thyme Honey