Kefalonian honey has already been exported to Venice and Ancona since the 16th century. It acquired European fame and is considered the most excellent honey after the honey of Narbonne and the“tear” of Spain. Its cultivation turned out to prosper economically and in 1528 was imposed by Venice governor to pay a 10th in taxation.
After the Venetian domination the apiculture continued to prosper in Kefalonia also with the help of “Vallianeio” Agricultural School which was the cause for the development and the swift increase in the number of beehives and their modernization.
It is noteworthy that in 1926 school teacher Evangelos Drakopoulos from Pilaro area was awarded for his honey in San Fransisco, USA.
During the period of the Balkan war in 1912 Apiarian Coopera- tive Kefalonia was founded but was inactive for many years. However, today it is in complete operation.
Over the years important changes take place for the beehives of the island. The island faces the disappearance of a bee species which belonged to the subspecies “Karnioliki” of Europe from which initially Kefallonian honey was produced. The reason for loosing the local bee species was because of importing different species from Asia, Africa and Europe in order for honey makers to increase their output.
The quantity of honey that is produced in Kefalonia remains constant over the last years oscillating to 70 tons annually. Thyme honey constitutes for the main import of this product of about roughly 90%. Towards the end of July and the beginning of August the blossoming of wild botans, lavender and oregano and especially thyme all give an exceptionally good taste, aroma and a bright, dense colour.
Today on the island about 400 honey makers exist, some officially registered and some not, with about 13.000 European beehives in an overwhelming majority.