Once a gold mining village, Murrumbateman is now the heart of gourmet food and wine culture and home to over twenty cellar doors but as well as the wine, it also has its very own meadery. Now, I'm not so sure there are too many towns in Australia that can boast their very own locally made mead, and I was curious to find out more.
Wins Creek Meadery is a short drive from Canberra along the Barton Highway. Housed in the historic Travellers Rest Inn, circa 1879, the meadery offers more than just a tipple. My husband and I are having a prolonged love affair with handmade ceramics and there are some stunning handmade pieces by Wins Creek Pottery, including keep cups, tableware and planters. There is a stunning indoor beehive (how's that for some décor that keeps with your product!) called the Cathedral. You can peep inside and see the bees going about their day - their honey is for sale at the Bee-Spoke Gift Shop too. And then there is the café which offers dining inside (this would be a cosy option for a winter lunch) and also outside which is just perfect for long, lazy spring and summer days.
The menu at Wins Creek Meadery proves if you stick to something and do it well, there's no need to have endless choices. With a variety of pizzas or a cheese platter to share, the food is so delicious and a perfect match for the mead. Mead is made by fermenting honey and water with spices or fruit added for flavour making is a delicious alternative to wine. If you've never tried it, this is the perfect place to get started with a tasting paddle. I was surprised at the variety of flavours from crisp to floral to sticky sweet. And once you find a favourite, you can order a chilled mug to enjoy alongside a meal at the café.
For lunch, we ordered a sweet potato and blue cheese pizza which was flavoured with pine nuts, rosemary and honey and a black garlic, mushroom and tomato pizza. Both were delicious - the toppings were matches made in heaven and the dough was that perfect blend of crunchy and chewy. And being a life long cheese lover, of course, the pollen platter made its way to the table too - this was a wheel of brie topped with honey, nuts and rose petals served alongside breads, crackers and fresh and dried fruits.
Sitting in the courtyard as the resident bees buzzed in the flowers under the gentle sun, my mind relaxed and I found myself daydreaming about being on holiday. I could be in a Tuscan hill town sitting with the nonnas...but then I looked around again and decided maybe this was even better. To discover a little treasure like Wins Creek Meadery so close to home meant that for today, at least, reality was better than the daydream.