Honey cider

The Old Cheese Factory at Riedsdale has bottled 50 bottles of melomel, which is a mead that contains fruit.

Mead is made with honey, and Gary Watkins-Sully from the Old Cheese Factory (now a cider factory) said it originated in the monasteries of medieval Europe, where the churches controlled bee-keeping for the wax to make candles. Given honey prices, mead is no longer profitable, but Watkins-Sully said sometimes bees produce honey that is too runny for jarring, as it is prone to fermentation.

Last autumn, he was offered 20 litres of runny honey from a supplier and set about turning it into melomel – a fermented blend of honey and juice from apples and hawthorn berries (18per cent alcohol). He is calling it Flunky Bee and said it has ‘‘a deep honey aroma with an underlying fruitiness’’. ($25, 0248461999.)