- Nothing says summer like the delicate British elderflower, and it’s in June that this fragrant flower is at its abundant best
As a soft drink, recipe ingredient or delicious splash in cocktails, Belvoir’s much-loved Elderflower Cordial stands the test of time. For the team at Belvoir Farm, this month is one of their busiest as they harvest the flowers needed to keep production of their best-selling flavour in full swing.
Following months of lying dormant during the winter, Belvoir’s 60-acre organic plantation and surrounding hedgerows come alive when elderflowers burst into bloom in June, and with a crucial six-week picking season to ensure flowers are in tip-top condition, it’s all hands on deck.
How to make elderflower cordial
With the community long at the heart of its operations, Belvoir calls upon locals to help pick flowers. This decades-old tradition – first started by John and Mary Manners to help turn waste fruit and abundant elderflowers on their farm into fruit cordials – is now upheld by son, Pev. It sees harvested flower heads in the vat within 24 hours of picking, gently stirred and infused to begin the making of Belvoir’s classic cordial from Mary’s original elderflower recipe. Each year they have an incredible response from people in and around Leicestershire and, with some adjustments to make the event Covid-safe, this year is no exception.
“It’s no mean feat, and the harvest is hard, gritty work with people dropping off baskets and bin bags full of fresh pickings from morning to evening, but it’s also a great excuse to get outside for some fresh air and exercise whilst earning some extra cash at the same time,” says Pev.
It’s not just local people who benefit. The same careful land stewardship that secures future harvests also supports the biodiversity on Belvoir’s plantation. Belvoir was born from working with nature, respecting the countryside and its complex ecosystems and supporting sustainable farming. As members of the Countryside Scheme, they make sure they always give back at least as much as they take. With the harvest gathered, farm manager Keith starts gentle tilling, aeration and organic fertilising of the plantation, being sure to protect the established nature corridors around it – for wildflowers, butterflies, pollinators and fallow deer. It’s all part of doing the right thing by the land and the wider ecosystem as nature’s cycle begins again.
The rewards of all this care and attention can be tasted in 27 delicious soft drinks bearing the iconic Belvoir branding, which this year features a fresh new look.
With or without alcohol, sparkling or not, the vibrant taste and versatility of Belvoir’s Elderflower range continues to make it a firm favourite in homes as well as in bars and on restaurant menus up and down the country and around the world. With 22 servings from a single 500ml bottle, it’s the perfect refreshment to enjoy as a soft drink, mixer or cocktail ingredient. For summer inspiration, Belvoir has also created a series of elderflower cocktails and mocktails.
Now the UK’s fastest growing premium cordial brand [source: IRI], Belvoir’s cordials in particular saw increasing demand during lockdown as consumers looked for delicious at-home hydration. Today, the brand looks set for even more summer success.Click here