A few weeks ago a special invitation appeared in my inbox, inviting myself and Roo to a baking masterclass with Belvoir Fruit Farms. With Roo’s love of baking, I knew it was something that she would love to take part in. With the extra special bonus of Lisa Faulkner being the celebrity chef showing us how to create some yummy treats.
Belvoir Fruit Farms
Nestled in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir in the heart of the English countryside, Belvoir Fruit Farms have been making the country’s finest elderflower cordials and presses for over 30 years. The family run business remains true to its original recipes and roots, with the whole range being hand-made on the farm.
From 500 bottles in 1984, the business has blossomed, celebrating its 20 millionth bottle off the bottling line at the end of 2014. Belvoir Fruit Farms products are now available in most major supermarkets in the UK as well as farm shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels including the Savoy London and major London stores such as Fortnum & Mason.
Whilst elderflower remains the bulk of the business, the Belvoir range now includes 14 cordials, 20 presses, including organic and non-organic versions, two ready-made punches, three different can and now new Belvoir ‘Without the hangover‘ – a range of wine-style drinks but minus the alcohol and associated sore head.
Meeting Lisa Faulkner
I have to start by saying that Roo is a huge Masterchef fan, watching all the series on TV including the junior version and the ones from Australia and USA. So you can imagine her excitement at the prospect of meeting Lisa Faulkner the 2010 Masterchef winner.
As we arrived at the Central Street Cookery School we met up with Nikki from Stressy Mummy and her daughter – who was just as excited to take part in the baking masterclass. Along with a group of around 10 bloggers and their children we donned aprons in anticipation of what Lisa wanted us to bake.
I have to confess to being a little starstruck as well I was standing in a kitchen with Lisa Faulkner! Although she is one of the nicest people I have ever met and instantly put myself and the others at ease. Her warm and welcoming nature, as well as her mum kindness just radiated through the event and Roo was especially taken with her.
Lisa Faulkner along with River Cottage chef Gill Meller have been working alongside Belvoir Fruit Farms to create an array of delicious recipes incorporating the cordials or presses. Lisa kindly showed us all how to make the Madeleine Hot Air Balloons which use their Belvoir Elderflower & Rose cordial to add that silky smooth flavour and fragrant scent.
Talking us through step by step, Lisa was on hand to guide us through the process. With Roo especially delighted to have won a mixer for having the best-decorated Madeleine’s.
Elderflowers Pickers Urgently Needed
Belvoir Fruit Farms has opened weighing stations across the North East as the Cordial maker seeks a bumper crop of elderflowers this season. They need over 60 tonnes – that’s 3.6 million flowerheads – to keep up with demand for their quintessentially English drinks and so the annual call for pickers from across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire to help the harvest the frothy blossoms has been issued with some urgency.
Belvoir will pay £2.10 per kilo picked and an experienced picker can harvest up to 45 kilos of elderflowers in one day. However, this year Belvoir are introducing an added incentive, as well as bit of fun – the chance to be named Belvoir’s Biggest Bagger! Each week of the harvest the person who collects the most elderflowers and has their booty weighed at Belvoir Fruit Farms only will receive a £100 reward so there’s, even more, reason to get picking!
For more details on the Elderflower Harvest 2017 please see the Belvoir Fruit Farms website
Disclosure: We were invited to a baking workshop with Belvoir Fruit Farms and Lisa Falkner