There is apparently a tradition of giving newlyweds Mead as a wedding gift for them to drink on their honeymoon. This is a Northern European tradition where newlyweds drink a daily cup of honey wine during the first month of their marriage (I guess the honeymoon was traditionally a month, nice!). This daily cup of Mead would assure the couple the birth of sons while also symbolizing the sweetness of the first month of marriage (I mean, it better be sweet the first month!).
Mead is actually honey wine or drinkable honey made by fermenting honey and water. It can be still, carbonated, or sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet and is between 8%-18% alcohol. There are about 36 different mead varieties (my brother said, that’s it, are you sure). Mead ranges from being made with honey and maple syrup to chili peppers and varieties can be found all over the world from Europe to Africa.
- Metheglin – Mead that contains spices or herbs such as cloves, Cinnamon, nutmeg, hops, lavender
- Melomel – Mead that contains fruit such as strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry
Combined with the fact that my father-in-law now raises bees and talks a lot about Mead and that we are attending many weddings this summer and need unique local gift ideas, I had to finally taste some local Mead. Down in Soquel in Santa Cruz, CA there is a winery called Bargetto that makes Mead (in the spirit of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales). Bargetto has Chaucer’s Mead (as well as other wines and other fruit wines). Chaucer’s Mead (92 Points – Wine Enthusiast – $13-15 a bottle) comes with tea bag filled with spices on the side. You can place the spice bag in the chilled Mead bottle and drink it with the spice addition. It is a great dessert or sweet wine and a great local wedding gift for friends. It can be served chilled or heated in the winter. Stop by the Bargetto Winery tasting room in Soquel on Main Street to sample their Mead!
- Mead made locally for our Santa Cruz Food Blog readers – Chaucer’s Mead at Bargetto Winery in Soquel, CA.
- Mead made locally for our Silicon Valley Food Blog readers and San Jose Food Blog Readers – Rabbit’s Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale, CA.
- Mead made locally in Maine for Kellies Belly Readers, Kellie suggests Honeymaker Mead, especially their lavender mead and blueberry mead.