Love Your Honey

Honeywine displays its charms at the International Mead Festival.

Money can't buy you love, but perhaps honey can. Or, more specifically, honeywine. The ancient beverage, known traditionally as mead and nicknamed "the drink of love," has emerged from relative obscurity in recent years to win the hearts of a growing legion of passionate imbibers.

This past weekend, the 5th Annual International Mead Festival took place in Denver attracting a crowd of over a thousand to the two-day event. More than a hundred meads from around the world teased the palates of festival attendees, leaving more than a few smitten with the amorous elixir.

That Meadfest 2007 was scheduled near Valentine's Day was no coincidence. Steeped in legend and lore, honeywine has, for ages, been associated with love, lust and earthly indulgences.

One oft-told tale proposes that the term honeymoon is derived from an ancient practice of endowing newlyweds with a quantity of mead sufficient to last a month, or one moon cycle. It was believed that daily consumption would start the marriage on a sweet note and enhance virility and fertility.

In its simplest form, mead is a fermentation of honey and water. Like grape wine, it can range from bone-dry to sweet as a lover's kiss. It lends itself well to fruits and spices, leaving much to the skill and creativity of the meadmaker.

Meadfest 2007 featured an amazing assortment of titillating potions with flavorings ranging from black cherries to juniper berries, rose petals to chili peppers. To integrate mead into your Valentine's Day plans, drink it during dinner paired with fish or poultry or after dinner as a dessert wine.

As to whether mead is really an aphrodisiac, well, that's between you and your honey.


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