By Elaine Corn – Special to The Bee
The Sacramento Bee
01/25/2015 12:00 AM
No era in human history has existed without the search for an altered state of being. Notwithstanding hallucinations from chewing or sipping tea decocted from certain leaves, most of humankind’s sidesteps from reality have come from drink.
Most likely, it started with mead. Mead is made from honey, and it is believed to be the oldest fermented beverage in the world. The ancient Chinese fermented honey and rice to alcoholic potency. Ethiopia is still at it, having enjoyed tej, the country’s honey-based national drink, since the third century. And pre-Middle Ages Europeans pumped up with it in mead halls before and after battle.
Immortalized in early medieval literature, mead has come a long way from its stupor-inducing effects on Norse warriors, as described in the eighth-century epic “Beowulf,” to its status today as an elegant beverage to be sniffed and swirled.
On Saturday night, mead will star as its many varieties and styles are paired with the $120-per-person menu at the Mid-winter Beekeeper’s Feast at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis.
And that’s where the story picks up. Where else to study mead but UC Davis, perhaps the world’s most fermented campus? It’s already got a winery and brewery. It may soon get itself to a meadery.
Full Story: World Eats: Mead is creating a buzz at UC Davis