Taking a generous sip of chilled Marourde craft Blue Label mead, I taste centuries of history and a very modern twist on an ancient brew. Served chilled with a refreshingly smooth feel, this modern mead has none of the sickly sweet flavours of home-brew, but delicate tones of fruit, and floral honey. It’s a palette pleasing traditional, modern twist on a drink steeped in tradition. Sometimes known as nectar of the gods, this fermented honey drink is popular with those seeking a change from the more familiar ciders and beers.
I first met Will and Emilia Boscawen from Marourde when we shared a table at a glitzy awards dinner earlier this year to celebrate the best food and drink of Kent. Entering the awards for the first time, Marourde not only won the best ‘Specialty Drinks’ prize but took home top honours as ‘Kent Food Product of the Year’. Will’s family, the Boscawens, has been farming the fields around Mereworth village – or Marourde, to give it its historic name – for over 250 years in the heart of the traditional hop growing area of The Garden of England and only started fermenting mead a couple of years ago.
On the shelf with Blue Label (5.5% ABV) you’ll find Red Label (5.4%) made with Bramley apples that is vaguely reminiscent of cider with a rounded, fruity flavour, and the original Yellow Label (5.4%) regarded as being on the ‘civilised side of lager’. With ABVs around 5.4%, Marourde meads are on lower end of alcoholic strength for this type of drink. Some modern makers add too much fruit, pushing it towards the novelty drink market, perhaps with rhubarb, white chocolate or raspberries. However, Marourde’s current range is subtler and can easily be paired with salads, cheeses, at a bbq or perhaps with a roast chicken or leg of pork.
Mead has been around for centuries produced by monks and foraging alchemists, but today is too often lumped together with the heavier English ales and ciders. However, modern mead is more subtle, requiring gentle preparation allowing the process to extract the flavours from quality ingredients all under carefully monitored conditions.
Serve well chilled and perhaps experiment with how you drink it. Perhaps warm, chilled, or swap into a Pimms-like summer cup. A slice of lemon would also add a new dimension to this special drink.
Marourde will be at the Tonbridge Food Festival this weekend, May 26, & 27, with ‘Landy’, the street food Marourde Machine Landrover. The Lemon Grove will also be taking part in the festival with a stall and doing cooking demos! Hope to see you there 🙂