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When we decided to release the new Herb-Infused Meads in March, we planned a lovely release party. These tasty treats were such a hit, I was asked for the recipes several times! The Lemon-Chamomile Shortbread then made an encore appearance for our 3rd Birthday Party on Labor Day weekend and again, I was asked for the recipe. Sorry it took so long to post!! Happy Baking!!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar (I increased this just a bit from the original recipe, because that's how we like them!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons loose chamomile tea (or dried chamomile flowers)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan.
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Blend in the lemon zest, loose tea and flour until smooth. Press into pan.
Bake 30 minutes or just until the shortbread begins to turn golden. Cut into 9 squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove cookies from pan. Yield: 18 cookies
I also made this recipe with Lemon Balm for the Herb-infused Mead Release Party! Adapted from: http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/4242 She lists some amazing ideas for other flavors to try!
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup cream
4 teaspoons lavender flowers (I grind the flowers in a spice grinder to make smaller pieces)
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, combine cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. Stir in fruit. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Kneed and flatten dough out, divide in half to make two large rounds.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown. Cut into wedges.
I have also made these with 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, or raisins, and other herbs such as rosemary! Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/scones-recipe/index.html
Our Christmas song for 2012, The Twelve Days of Starrlight Christmas!
"On the twelvfth day of Christmas, my mazer gave to me...
Twelve Mead Club Members,
Eleven Tasters Tasting,
Ten Brave Knights Fighting,
Nine Gorgeous Wenches,
Eight Meads a-Pouring,
Seven Red Light Chocolates,
Six Corks a-Poppin',
Five Gold-en Starrs!
Four Thrsty Hoards,
Three Bee Hives,
Two Drinking Horns,
And a Glass o-of Yummy Pear Mead!"
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good Mead!
Just a few holiday suggestions for those people in your life who may be more difficult to buy for! Come to the Meadery for all these great gifts and more!
For the Wine Lover
Breeze Corkscrew - $36
Wine Glass or Wine Bottle Wooden Puzzle - $15-20
Wine Racks - $24-55
Wine Bottle Lamps and Tiki Torches - $13-33
Cork Cage - $27.50-29.50
Starrlight Mead Off-dry Traditional Mead - $16
Starrlight Mead Off-dry Blackberry Mead - $25
For the Mead Lover
Starrlight Meads - $16-25
Bumper Sticker - $2-3
Got Mead? T-shirt - $21-25
Starrlight Mead “A friend with Mead…” - $16-18
Mead Making books - $17-20
For the SCA or Renaissance Faire Lover
Drinking Horn – Small, Medium or Large - $35-55
Dragon or Knight Pen - $7
Blue Dragon Glass - $25
Runic “Got Mead?” T-shirt - $21-25
For the Dragon Lover
“Name Your Poison” Dragon Plaque - $19
Judging the Darkness Dragon Candle Holder – $30
Dragon Glasses and Goblets – $25-144
Dragon Castle Candle Holder - $56
Dragon Flute Glass - $60
For the Locavore
Starrlight Meads – all local NC honey - $16-25
Stained Glass by Swanfire Farms - $15-60
Bottle Tiki Torches by Casey Yunker - $20 each/$36 for 2
Red Light Chocolates and Caramel - $5-18
Bee Gifts by Carolina Bee Company - $3-17
Stocking Stuffers – $10 and under
Dragon or Knight Pen - $7
Wine Stopper s- $2-6.50
Bottle Tea Light Holder - $6.50
Bumper Stickers - $2-3
Honey Pot - $7
Corkscrews - $2-7
Extended Holiday Shopping Hours
Wednesday, Dec 19 - 12-6 pm (Special Wednesday hours!)
Thursday, Dec 20 - Saturday, Dec 22 - 12-6 pm
Sunday, Dec 23 - 1-5 pm
Monday, Dec 24 - 12-4 pm (Special Christmas Eve hours!)
If we don't see you this week, have a very Happy Yule and a Merry Christmas!
We are very lucky to have become involved with a local organization here in Pittsboro that is putting everyone’s money where their mouth is! Slow Money NC is reaching out to everyone with the crazy notion that if we each pitch in and invest in local businesses, our local economy will strengthen right here in our own neighborhoods.
“Inspired by a visit from Woody Tasch in May of 2010 (author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money,) a few folks in North Carolina set out to build resilience in their local food economy by catalyzing low-interest loans to local, sustainable food and farming businesses. Since then nearly $590,000 has changed hands, and is now helping sustainable farmers and local food enterprises throughout the state!”
What a brilliant idea! By asking each of us to invest only 1% of our portfolios into local food businesses and farms, we can have an extraordinary impact on not only our neighbors who are trying to make their business dreams grow, but in the quality of food that is available to us. To date, Slow Money NC has facilitated over 50 loans to 26 businesses.
We are so excited that we are able to support this great organization and that the local community is helping support our dreams too. We have recently received our first loan through Slow Money NC, and a local friend here in Pittsboro, to increase our production so we can expand our distribution and product offerings.
Everyone is invited to the meadery, Wednesday, October 24 from 6 – 8 pm for a Slow Money NC informational meeting to find out more about what this great organization is doing to support the local economy. We’ll have mead tasting, local food, and lots of fun learning how all of us together can support the growth of the local slow food industry and our neighbors here in Chatham County. (For those of you in other counties, you can come hear about other great projects in Raleigh and Durham too!)
When: Wednesday, October 24 from 6 – 8 pm
Where: Starrlight Mead in Pittsboro
Why: Because it’s great to get involved and help!
More info on Slow Money NC
Tell us what you think about the idea of investing locally!
I love the Fall! Cooler temperatures, changing leaves, fun holidays and the start of football season are all signals to me that the next few months are going to be a blast. And hectic! But, I love it just the same!
In celebration of Fall, this weekend, October 6 & 7, we are releasing our Seasonal Meads – Cranberry Orange and Kickin’ Cranberry Orange with chipotle peppers! Last year, the first year we made these seasonal delights, we had such a great response, we decided to bring them back again this year.
Of course, mead made with chipotle peppers made some of our friends and customers ask, “What was Ben thinking?” and “How on earth does he come up with these flavors?” So, I’m here to solve the mystery – how does he come up with this stuff?
The original idea for Cranberry Orange Mead started as a less sweet holiday alternative to our Spiced Apple Mead. This time of year, just as soon as the temperature starts dropping, we start selling the heck out of the Spiced Apple. But, Spiced Apple is one of the sweeter meads we make. So we came up with the idea to make a less sweet mead, that still celebrated the flavors of the holidays, and would go with all kinds of yummy holiday foods. The idea for Cranberry Orange was born. The tartness of cranberry, combined with the sweet citrus of orange, was already a holiday favorite, so why not make it into mead? (Many of you have heard me say it before, “The man will ferment ANYTHING!” It’s true!) And, once we sweetened it just a touch, so that it didn’t pucker your face up completely, we had something wonderful!
But that isn’t the end of the story! A few years ago, Ben had found a recipe for Cranberry Relish that used peppers in it that he made for Thanksgiving. Remembering this recipe (which was too hot for me to eat!), Ben thought it might be great to combine the fruity, tangy Cranberry Orange Mead with a little bit of heat and smoke from chipotle peppers. We tried a test batch at home and, volia, a new favorite was born! And it was Kickin’!
For this year’s version, we bought 10 lbs of jalapeño peppers from local Pittsboro farmer, Granite Springs Farm, combined them with a few peppers from our own backyard, smoked them for 8 hours and then threw them in the mead! (For those of you that are worried, we took the seeds and membranes out of the peppers before we smoked them, toning down the heat level.) If you didn’t try it last year, you are in for an interesting treat! As Ben likes to say, “It isn’t everyday you can find a wine that will go with Shrimp and Grits!” Of course, it will also go with Turkey Dinner or anything with bacon in.
Come on in this weekend and get a taste of this year’s Cranberry Duo!
I have decided that the third week of the month will be “List Day” here at Starrlight Mead Blog! Going to try to come up with some crazy, interesting, outrageous lists to keep you amused! And so, we proudly present… our first list – Meads We Love – For You to Try (that aren’t ours!):
Traditionals – honey, water, yeast – a classic
Sweet Mead – Rabbit’s Foot Meadery, CA – sweet, but not cloying; leaves a honey fragrance in the glass
Chaucer’s Mead – Chaucer’s Cellars, CA – We know what you are thinking (we used to think the same thing!), but Chaucer’s was reformulated recently and in 2009 took the Gold Medal in the Mazer Cup Traditional category in blind tasting. We are told the judges were shocked when they found out who had won! If you haven’t tried it in several years, now is the time. Yes, it’s still sweet. But the flavor is much more complex now and very pleasant!
Melomels – mead with fruit (Becky’s favorites, by far…)
Ginger- Apricot Honey Wine- Fox Hills Mead, NC – lightly sweet with the floral heat of ginger
Pirtle’s Raspberry Mead - Pirtle Winery, MO – raspberries and honey, simple, sweet, pretty blush color
2002 Red Raspberry & 2003 Boysenberry Reserves – Redstone Meadery, CO – currently sold out, but you can still get the 2005 Black Raspberry for $50. Worth. Every. Penny!
Carbonated - lower alcohol meads
Black Raspberry Nectar - Redstone Meadery, CO – Light carbonation and lower alcohol than many meads makes this one is easy to drink. Ben enjoys floating a half pint of Guinness on top of this nectar; with each sip the two combine and it is like sipping a black forest cake by the time you get to the bottom of the glass
Nectar of the Hops – Redstone Meadery, CO – This braggot reminds Ben of a pale ale. It is not as hoppy as the IPAs that Ben and the owner of Redstone are so fond of, but the floral and bitterness of the hops balance nicely with the light honey flavors.
Methelglins – mead with spices or herbs
Vanilla Cinnamon Mead – Redstone Meadery, CO – the cinnamon sharpness is cut nicely by the softness of the vanilla (Ben prefers this one just above room temp to let all the flavors loose)
African Birds Eye Chili Mead – Iqhilika, South Africa – Birds Eye chilies (equivalent to habanero chilies), HOT, can be ordered online for delivery here. Drink this one last!
Fortified – crazy stuff that you just need to try
Viking Blod – Dansk Mjod, Denmark – dry honey wine with hibiscus and hops, 18% ABV, not for the faint of heart
Honeymoon – formerly Buck Shoals Winery, now Winsor Run, NC – fortified mead at 18% ABV with a rich honey flavor. Don’t know if they are going to continue to offer it, but maybe if we ask nicely…
Well, this gives you a lot to try out, if you haven’t already! Let us know in the comments if we missed one of your favorites! Cheers and Enjoy!
In August, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue proclaimed September 2012 as “NC Wine Appreciation Month.” A fitting month to celebrate North Carolina’s amazing, and rapidly growing, wine industry, as most of NC’s grape harvest is brought during the month of September. With over 115 wineries and 400 commercial grape growers, the wine industry contributes 1.28 billion dollars (with a “B”) to the state economic impact. An industry with a long history that deserves celebrating!
Of course, we over here at one of only two HONEY wineries in the state, can’t fail to notice that it is also National Honey Month! Proclaimed in 1989 by the USDA, assisted by the National Honey Board, National Honey Month is a month to celebrate our favorite little pollinator friends and the luscious, golden nectar that they create. (Check out the Honey Board’s website for tons of ideas and fantastic recipes for your own celebration! And if you haven’t signed up for their recipe newsletter, I would highly recommend it!)
A coincidence, that these two months coincide, you ask? I think not! Or, as Gov. Perdue would write:
WHEREAS, National Honey Month and NC Wine Appreciation Month are celebrated during the same month; and
WHEREAS, mead is wine made from honey; and
WHEREAS, mead is the oldest fermented beverage;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BECKY STARR, Head Mead Wench of Starrlight Mead, do hereby proclaim September 2012, as “Mead Appreciation Month” and commend its observance to all citizens.
There, that should take care of it, don’t you think?
After a weekend of celebration, mead, and cake, today is the official, actual TWO YEAR Anniversary of the opening of Starrlight Mead! (Yay us!) It’s amazing, to me, to think that we’ve been in business for two years now – the time has flown by so fast! But it’s true, and here we are!
Of course, having said that, yesterday Ben pulled out the pictures of the renovations we did before opening and I was shocked at how long ago it felt like that had happened. (Check out the pictures here. Hit the “Previous” link to go through the pictures in order!) The constant dust. The smell of paint. The sore achy legs from climbing up and down the ladder. The production room floor from hell. The frustration at delays in opening. The boo-boos. (Truly, blood, sweat and tears in this one!)
And then came opening day! Finally! It still seems like only yesterday that our dear friend Sharon Hill walked into our meadery as our very first customer! And we were off and running!
Now, two whole years later, we are thrilled with the number of really amazing people we’ve met, vendors with whom we’ve done business, and people with open minds coming in to see just what mead is all about! Add to it the beekeepers, eager students in our classes (whether it’s learning home mead making or thinking about opening their own meadery or brewery), and local merchants and towns people and you have the recipe for a wonderful, thriving business – that is a lot of fun to own and run!
What’s in store for the next year, you ask? Well, partly in thanks to a very recent loan through Slow Money NC, we are increasing production, included an expanded line of mead flavors, and increasing our reach through the wonderful local shops that carry our meads. We are also working on plans for a new Mead (Wine) Club and some other fun things to help build our mead community!
We are so glad to all of you that have been a part of our first two years! And, we hope that you will continue with us on this journey of mead for the next, however many years! Cheers!
The first Saturday in August is deemed “Mead Day” by the American Homebrewer’s Association, a day to make, drink and introduce your friends to the glories of Mead, or honey wine. Ben and I have embraced the tradition of this day for the last seven years, by hosting a Mead Day Celebration. The first year, there were 12 of us making and drinking mead together. What a great excuse for a holiday for our favorite beverage!
Each year, our Mead Day Celebration has grown in size and scope. In August 2010, one month before we opened the meadery, we had a “private” celebration with 120 of our “closest friends” (and their friends too, clearly, we just don’t know THAT many people!). We tried to introduce people to as many meads as we could find. Some people discovered a few that they liked way too much!
Last year, Mead Day consisted of a mini Renaissance Faire held at the meadery and on the lawn outside. We advertised and told our customers about it and expected somewhere between 200 and 250 attendees. We were more surprised than anyone when approximately 500 people showed up for the event! It was a huge success, even though the Knights and Mead Wenches were pretty tired by time it was over! And the discussion afterwards? “How on earth are we going to top that next year?”
So, plans are now under way for this year’s Mead Day Celebration. We are bringing back some of the favorites from last year – Mead Slushies, Mead Wenches, sword fighting Knights, Turkey Legs, roving Renaissance music from Thunder and Spice. And we’ve decided to up our kids activities with face painting, balloon animals and a castle bounce house. (Because if the kids are happy, the parents stay and drink longer, right? Although, one mom said to me today, “Why would I bring the kids?” *smile* Of course, there is that!) In addition to the fantastic vendors we had last year - Red Light Chocolates, Carolina Bee Company, Swanfire Farms, Festival of Legends, Chatham Marketplace - we are scheduling some great new vendors too. (I just had a conversation this weekend with a dragon wrangler!) And, we are working on more indoor, air-conditioned space, just in case you were worried!
So, get out your smart phone and mark your calendar for Saturday, August 4th from noon until 5pm, and come on over to the meadery for a wonderful day celebrating our very favorite beverage – Mead! We are sure you’ll have a great time with us. Family Friendly! No charge for event!
You can check out pictures of last year’s festivities here!
You can get up to the minute details of what’s going on over here!
When Captain Don, from Triangle Boat Tours, came to me last year to talk about partnering on an event, I thought that it sounded like something fun to offer our customers and friends. I didn’t realize what a great time cruising on a lake could be. Last week was our first “Mead On a Boat” date, so Ben and I took the opportunity to ride along and we are so glad that we did.
This was our very first time on Jordan Lake. I was surprised, after only previously seeing the lake driving down Hwy 64, that it was so huge! Jordan Lake is almost 14,000 acres with 180 miles of shoreline! During our two hour sunset cruise, we went from the marina just north of 64, all the way down to the bottom end where the dam is built. (I only realize now, looking at a map, that we only saw HALF of the lake!) It was a beautiful evening with absolutely perfect weather – cool, light breeze, clear. We “sped” along the lake at 12 miles an hour taking in the scenery and wild life, with Captain Don narrating along the way.
The thing that most surprised me about Jordan Lake is the population of birds that make the lake, and its surrounding shoreline, home. We learned that there are 6 mated pairs of Bald Eagles that have permanent nesting sites near the lake, with another up to 70 eagles that migrate here from Florida! How wonderful to have so many of these majestic birds living so close! (View the NC State EagleCam at Jordan Lake here!)
We are so lucky here in the great state of North Carolina to have such beautiful areas for recreation, or just chilling out, right down the road. The longer I live here, the more I come to appreciate the natural beauty of NC! What a great place to live… or visit!
Check out more pictures from our first event!
Sign up for Mead On a Boat on Friday, June 22 or Friday, July 20. We’ll be scheduling more of these events throughout the summer!
Have other ideas for a great time with mead? Leave us a comment or suggestion!