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A Honey Crawl In Samos
The first time we drove on the dizzying road leading west from Pythagorion out to Kampos, in the island's west, we passed a slew of small shops and stands selling honey. My interest was piqued but I didn't bother to stop. Honey is honey, and since I'm used to the gloppy, factory produced cheap stuff that has the consistency of glue, I was doubtful that it could be any better than what I'm used to.
"I saw some in the supermarket," my wife said. "Just go get some."
But I didn't want supermarket honey, even if it was the same kind of locally produced stuff sold on the side of the road. I wanted the whole roadside honey experience. So we set off the next day back on the same carsickness-inducing route, which traverses a nice chunk of Samos's pretty, mountainous green interior, and I stopped at every honey stand I could find.
Gallery: On the Honey Trail in Samos
At the first shop, we were given only a small taste on toothpicks, which was a bit of a tease, but it was enough to make us want more. It was lighter, sweeter and far tastier than any honey I'd ever had before.
At the second shop we visited, just west of the village of Pirgos, the honey tasted even better, and the owner let us take samples by the spoonful from a big jar of the stuff. While my wife distracted him with questions, I kept dipping into the stuff like an addict, as my children looked at a collection of trapped bees in the shop.
When I couldn't reasonably sample any more without feeling like a thief, I grabbed a big jar of it and pulled out my wallet before my wife objected.
"We're only here for a week," she said. "How much honey can you eat?"
As it turns out, an awful lot. I loved the stuff so much, that I started planning all my meals and snacks around things that I could pour honey on. And I burned through the four honey-drenched sesame bars I bought in less than 48 hours. One afternoon, I asked my wife how some honey might taste on my ham and cheese sandwich, and she tried to set me straight once more.
"Dave," she said. "You can't put honey on everything."
Maybe not, but when in Samos, you can certainly try.
(All photos and videos by Dave Seminara)