“If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise!” Well, you are if you head off the beaten track of the South Coast Highway into a grove of stately Karri trees about 16kms from Denmark, because here you’ll find Bartholomew’s Meadery.
And inside a smallish, unpretentious building is a treasure trove – all kinds of honey products from honey mead to unprocessed honey, propolis (a natural antibiotic), bee pollen, beeswax, royal jelly products and yes, even ice cream! Yum!
So while the kids are enjoying an ice cream, the adults can get down to the more serious business of tasting the oldest alcoholic drink known to man – Mead. It’s made from honey and water, so surely it must be good for you, especially because the Bartholomew’s Meadery bees get busy in the natural Australian forests amongst the Karri, Wandoo (white gum), Wildflower and Yate.
No wonder monks got into the habit – mead is surprisingly drinkable. Once considered the nectar of gods and goddesses I decided it was certainly worth a try. I enjoyed the Citrus Mead most of all, which with its distinct grapefruit overtone is similar to Sauvignon Blanc. Other varieties on offer are Berry Mead, Sweet Mead and the medicinal tasting, Metheglin.
Mead dates back a long way because the first archaeological evidence can be pinpointed to around 7000BC. Later on, during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, Mead was apparently a preferred drink and Aristotle and Pliny the Elder make reference to it in their writings. Danish warriors drank mead in the Old English epic ‘Beowulf’ while those canny monks kept up the old honey mead-making traditions as a by-product of beekeeping in the monasteries.
Have a look-see or a pit-stop at Bartholomew’s Meadery on your way down south, it’s just north of Denmark and not far from the beach at Greens Pool. Oh, and see if you can spot the Queen Bee. Any guesses?