Bee and Honey Experiences around Sithonia with Danai Beach Resort & Villas
Sweet and full of nutrients, honey has been a valued culinary and cultural commodity for centuries. Danai Beach Resort & Villas is in the village of Nikiti, Europe’s first beekeeping village where residents have bred bees and harvested honey for over 500 years.
Kimon Riefenstahl, owner & MD of Danai Beach Resort, knows exactly what makes the region's honey so special. “Honey is part of our business here in Nikiti, it is present everywhere and has shaped us economically. It is one of the basic elements used in our kitchen. As part of the traditional Greek breakfast, guests can try different types of honey from Sithonia including organic pine honey. The Seaside Bar on the beach also incorporates honey in their cocktails with the spa offering honey, milk and sea salt baths as part of a signature treatment. In the garden tavern, which hosts the traditional Greek Bachtses Night, there is a special burning of Ouzo with honey. Besides that, the resort’s gourmet restaurant 'The Squirrel' takes the experience further by offering honey-refined haute cuisine dishes.
The Halkidiki peninsula is home to more than 6,500 apiculturists and ranks first in Greek honey production. Nikiti itself is renowned for its pine honey, flower honey and rarer honey varieties - orange honey, erica multipolyflora honey, chestnut honey and thyme honey. On a day trip guests can visit the Cooperative for a tour and watch a film on honey production, sample various flavours and purchase a souvenir.
Fun Facts About Honey
• For a gram of honey, a bee has to work for about 12 days and visit up to 40,000 flowers
• Sithonia honey contains between 70 / 80 % sugar, mainly glucose and fructose
• 180 nutrients have been identified in honey, with this constantly evolving
• In addition to 16% water, honey contains 18 organic acids, proteins and amino acids, minuscule amounts of minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium or iron, vitamins B2, C, D, E, B6 and folic acid
• Honey has an antibacterial effect and positive effect on wound healing
• Kimon Riefenstahl's grandfather took the wisdom of the ancient Greek physician’s to heart by relieving his rheumatism with bee stings!
Urban Beekeeping Workshop Dates at St Ermin's Hotel
The St Ermin's Hotel, Westminster, home to over 350,00 Buckfast Honeybees, is holding a series of taster urban beekeeping workshops during summer led by beekeeping guru, Camilla Goddard of Capital Bee.
The two hour workshops outline the complexities of bee society and 'bee-haviour'; highlight the close relationship between bees and flowers and give guidance on what to plant, when and where and how best to site hives in gardens or allotments. Participants also visit London's first 'Bee & Bee'hotel on the hotel's third floor bee terrace to get hands-on experience handling bees, managing their hives and collecting raw honey.
“The St Ermin's six active hives are doing well again this year, producing on average 25lb of honey each year, helped by the fantastic range of flora in the surrounding royal gardens and parks. London's only Bee & Bee at the hotel is also doing well, providing a welcoming stopover for solitary bees and a host of other friendly creepy crawlies!” said Camilla Goddard.
Besides their continued support for London's growing Urban Beekeeping movement, St. Ermin's Hotel has also installed a Roof Kitchen Garden. This means plenty of bee-friendly plants for the colony to utilise as well as greenhouses and space to grow fresh, fruits, vegetables and herbs for use in the Hotel's signature restaurant, The Caxton Grill.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk