Karmely is a high quality alcohol beverage produced by the ancient recipe of Cretan monks under the strict Government quality supervision, and quality control of all its ingredients.
The recipe of this exquisite drink, as well as the recipe of grape must to produce it, for a long time were stored by the monks in one of unknown monastery of Crete, and recipe secretly passed from mouth to mouth of monastery abbots. After the tragic period of history of the first half of the 20th century, the recipes were completely lost. And although the Cretans till today traditionally continue to add the honey to the local spirits for colds for medicinal purposes, however, its formula, until recently, no one knew.
Working in European libraries, long time we have been not able to find even a mention about this unique drink. We carried more than ten years in order to find a trail of priceless recipes in studying the histories of Cretan monasteries, historical documents and evidence, before the thin threads of our hopes have led us to the Toplou monastery, located on the east coast of the island of Crete.
The Toplou monastery has played an important role in fighting the Cretan people for freedom and independence. The great history of the monastery is very interesting, heroic, exciting and tragic.
Founded in the mid of the 15th century on the ruins of the ancient monastery, pledged at the beginning of the first millennium AD, the Toplou monastery and today is an example of tenacity and courage of Greeks, and one of the greatest Cretan monasteries.
In 1530, the monastery was plundered by the knights of the Order of Malta, and in 1612 completely destroyed by the earthquake. But the monastery again and again has been revived thanks to diligence and hard work of monks, inhabitants and its geographical location. Toplou flourished so long as the Turks occupied the eastern part of the island in 1646. During the Turkish occupation, the monastery becomes the object of murder and robbery, but he was able to endure, and even assisted in the resistance and the liberation of the enslaved Greeks, after which he was again abandoned for many years.
In 1704, the monastery managed to avoid high taxes, as well as the captivity of people and occupation of territories by the janissaries, and Greeks began again to process the monastery lands. In 1798, Constantinople Patriarch Gregory V announced Toplou and surrounding lands as untouchable, and banned the sale of land without the written permission of the Patriarch. However, during the Greek revolution for independence in 1821, the Turks slaughtered all monks of the monastery, and Toplou remained ruined until the end of 1828.
During the rebellion of the inhabitants of the island of Crete against the Turks in 1866, the monastery was again devastated. During the long years of occupation and destruction of Toplou the icons of great artistic value, the Bible, gold and silver crosses, documents and priceless manuscripts, vestments of the monks and books from the library of the monastery were carefully stored in the recesses of the island.
Today the abbot of Toplou monastery is Filotheos. Archimandrite Filotheos Spanoudakis – a great philosopher, notionalist and sage. He restored the monastery, lands, founded the museum of ancient icons and copper engravings, making a significant contribution in economical, political and cultural development of the island of Crete.
In order to continue our search of recipes, we have flied to Crete to visit the Toplou monastery, museum, and library, and to meet personally the abbot of the monastery. We will never forget our meeting with the Great Archimandrite Filotheos. Thanks to the abbot Filotheos we have got a priceless ancient recipe of a drink and we were able to re-create its unique taste for all people of the world.