Vernon and North Okanagan
Nectar of the gods buzz-worthy again
Nov 5, 2013 / 5:00 am
Mead, nectar of the gods! Perhaps you’ve read about it in folklore featuring Greek gods, or maybe remember it mentioned in the popular Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter series, but have you ever tasted it?
In reality, us mere mortals have been enjoying mead for over 20,000 years, predating even wine and beer.
And Canadians have begun to take a real interest in the old world liquor. The booming industry grew from four meaderies in the entire country in the 2000’s to over 30 now.
"It's unique, it's different, it's trendy," says Vicky Rowe, owner of the U.S.-based Internet mead hub Gotmead.com.
"We've got a young generation that's coming up and looking for new and exciting beverages."
Planet Bee Honey Farm in Vernon opened its doors in 2011, when owner Ed Nowek felt it was time to bring mead to the Okanagan.
Nowek named his new product Honeymoon Mead because of the ancient Viking belief that a new wife must drink only mead for the first month after her wedding to guarantee their first-born would be a son.
Now, over two years later, and the meadery is buzzing. Originally producing three types of mead the company now offers nine varieties for your enjoyment, using different floral honey varieties, production methods, oak aging and additions like vanilla and orange to tickle your taste buds.
Meadery owners and mead drinkers take the business seriously, offering multiple varieties, entering competitions and pairing the mead properly with food just like any good winery would.
Lucia Renk-Leckie has worked at Planet Bee in Vernon for over five years now and says she carefully pairs their mead with the perfect dish.
“Our ‘Okanagan Delight’ mead is mildly acidic, light and tingly, and pairs perfectly with spicy or saucy foods,” shares Renk-Leckie.
Mead can also be served in several ways; one of Renk-Leckie’s favorites for the holidays is there ‘Marnier Metheglin’ mead, which is spiced with vanilla, orange and cinnamon.
“It can be served warm, like in a warm snifter after a day skiing. Perhaps with a cheese fondue, or how about pumpkin pie to bring out the flavours.”
And just how different grapes make different wine, different bees and what they pollinate make different honey and therefore make unique mead.
For example Planet Bee’s ‘Blueberry Bliss’ mead won several medals in years past because the beehive was in the centre of a blueberry field and the bees only pollinated with that plant, adding a new dimension to the mead.
Planet Bee’s meads have alcohol contents hovering around 13 to 14 per cent and vary in sweetness, flavour and costs. Prices range from $20 to $40 a bottle.
Click here to read how Canadians have increasingly come to love this honey bee liquor.
With files from The Canadian Press.
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