Do you make all your own drinks?
Yes we do. All of them are pressed, mixed and bottled at our own dedicated plant at Belvoir in sunny Leicestershire.
Why don’t they go off in the bottle?
We gently pasteurise each bottle after sealing it, which kills all the bugs so it is safe for you to drink. This is just the same as the treatment given to milk. It does not harm the goodness and taste of the product.
Why do goldfish have bad memories?
Goldfish have perfectly good memories and are smart enough to be trained to swim through hoops.
What is the shelf-life of Belvoir Cordials, Pressés and Fruit Crushes?
Cordials: The regular cordials last up to 18 months unopened and for up to about two months after opening if they are kept in the fridge as we recommend. There are no preservatives in any of our 100% natural cordials, so if you leave them out of the fridge they will gradually start to ferment. They are concentrated and will last you for ages, so do remember to keep them in the fridge. If you don’t like the fact that we’ve now taken the preservatives out do email me at email@example.com
Pressés: These have a life of 18 months after they have been made. They are made from 100% natural ingredients and are preservative-free so, after opening, keep them in the fridge and drink them within four days.
Fruit Crushes: These are 40% pressed juice and, again, there are no preservatives, so they have only a year’s life. After opening, keep them in the fridge and drink within three to four days.
How do you pronounce your name?
Despite its spelling, Belvoir is correctly pronounced “beever”.
Ready for a quick history lesson? Here we go… Home to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, Belvoir Castle commands a magnificent view over the Vale of Belvoir. Robert de Todeni, Standard Bearer to William the Conqueror, clearly thought the same because when he built the first fortress here he named it “Bel voir”, French for “beautiful view”. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, the ruling classes changed and Norman French was introduced. New settlements such as Belvoir, Beaulieu (“bewley”) and Alnwich (“anick”) were established, but their names became anglicised as only the nobility spoke and understood medieval French. It is unclear whether the decision to pronounce Belvoir as “beaver” was a direct snub by English traditionalists to the French invasion or whether it was simply because the Anglo-Saxons were unable to master the French tongue. Either way, whether you prefer to call our drinks “bel voir” or “beaver”, our main concern is that you enjoy them.
Do your drinks contain sugar?
Cordials: These contain quite a bit of sugar, but as they are designed to be diluted up to 10:1 that’s not surprising. The amount of calories is on the back label, both for the diluted drinks and for the neat cordial.
Pressés and Fruit Crushes: These do contain added sugar. Again, the amount varies but is declared on the back label of each one.
Why is the sky blue?
A clear, cloudless daytime sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light. When we look towards the sun at sunset, we see red and orange colours because the blue light has been scattered out and away from the line of sight.
Why do your drinks contain so much sugar?
It’s true that our drinks tend to have more sugar than some similar products on the market, but this is due to the nature of the product we manufacture. Cordials were originally a way for country people to preserve some of each summer’s glut of fruit for the coming winter. Adding sugar to the fruit juice would stop fermentation and keep the juice fresh for a few months. We use traditional methods in the manufacture of our cordials and pressés, and use sugar in this way as a traditional preservative.
We have tried to make low-sugar cordials and pressés using chemicals such as aspartame, but find that we cannot get the traditional taste and “mouthfeel” by using chemicals. In addition, there is continuing debate as to the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners. Without the preserving effect of sugar, most low- or reduced-sugar drinks tend to use chemical preservatives such as sodium benzoate. We prefer not to use these and go down a non-chemical route, particularly for organic products.
Can your glass be recycled?
Yes, at present more glass is recycled than PET, so it is actually greener to use glass bottles than plastic ones. We would really like all our customers to recycle our bottles. As part of our commitment to a sustainable environment we are constantly talking to our suppliers, trying to get them to use more recycled glass. (They do use some already.)
How did you get into the cordial business?
Cordial production at Belvoir Fruit Farms began in the kitchen of the founder Lord John Manners’ wife, Mary. Mary made the odd bottle of elderflower cordial for her family, using flowers picked from the hedgerows around the farm. Friends and neighbours would beg, steal or “borrow” bottles, and, in 1984, Lord John started to sell small hand-made batches of the elderflower elixir to friends and local shops.
By the late-1980s, Lord John was producing a range of cordials using soft fruits from the Farm’s “Pick Your Own” fruit fields, pressed in an antique French wine press. The principles that drove the business were a commitment to the use of fresh fruit and the avoidance of anything artificial. These principles, which naturally led to the creation of very fine products, helped to grow the popularity of the fruit cordials amongst people who were interested in good food.
Lady Mary died in 1997 and Lord John in 2001, but, true to the origins of the business, the farm’s present owner, their son Peverel, insists on the use of the best ingredients we can find, whether it be the tart and crisp Baltic cranberries, juicy Kent strawberries, Sicilian lemons, organic root ginger from Uganda or our own elderflowers from Leicestershire. Belvoir is fundamentally committed to producing the very finest and most natural drinks in the country, or indeed anywhere.
Are your products certified organic?
In the spring of 1995, we planted 90 acres of organic elderflowers in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir. The elder bushes grow very well and produced their first harvest of flowers in 1998, when we launched Belvoir Organic Elderflower Cordial, to great acclaim. This was then followed by other organic cordials, and in 2001 we introduced a range of organic pressés including Elderflower, Ginger Beer and hand-made Lemonade. Organic drinks have been so popular that in 2007 we introduced Blood Orange & Mandarin Cordial and Pressé and, in 2008, Pear & Apple Cordial, which is made from pressed organic fruit.
Our organic drinks are certified by the Organic Food Federation.
What is love?
That old conundrum, eh? I think it’s feeling weak-kneed with need. If you have any cleverer answers, please share them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are your drinks suitable for coeliacs?
None of our products contain any gluten.
What about other allergies and intolerances?
Almost any food or drink product may cause an allergy in some people. None of Belvoir’s products contain any of the most common food allergens in Europe – these are:
Cereals containing gluten
Crustaceans and fish
Peanuts and tree nuts
Sulphur dioxide at levels greater than 10 parts per million
We try our hardest to ensure that none of our suppliers handle any of these ingredients, either. If you suffer from any unusual food allergy, we would recommend that you contact us before consuming our drinks. Please email Alice Jones, Technical Manager (email@example.com).
Are your drinks suitable for diabetics?
All of our products contain sugar. Sucrose is used in all except the crush range, glucose in our ginger cordials and all products also contain natural fruit sugars (fructose). Most of our products have about 100g sugar per litre – each bottle has the exact figure printed on the back. Because of this, diabetics can drink limited quantities of our products, but if you’re a diabetic our products may not be the most suitable ones on the market for you.
How long is a piece of string?
As long as you cut it to.
Are your drinks suitable for vegetarians?
We use no ingredients that are derived from animals in any of our products. All of our products are suitable for both vegetarians, according to guidance from the Food Standards Agency.
Are your products kosher or halal?
We do not hold kosher or halal certification for our products, although we are aware of no reason why they are not suitable for a traditional Jewish or Muslim diet.
Do your drinks contain any chemical additives?
Preservatives: In April 2006 we removed all chemical preservatives from our drinks. This means that once opened, the cordials should be stored in the fridge. They will eventually start to ferment after a couple of weeks at room temperature, although we find that they’re so delicious they don’t usually hang around that long. This also has an interesting side effect – since we’ve taken the preservatives out we’ve also found that the cordials can be used very successfully as the basis of home-brewed wine!
Colours: We use no artificial colours in any of our products. We find that by using the very best quality pressed juice – and lots of it – we simply don’t need them. You may see some variation in the colour of our drinks due to seasonality – this is particularly true of the pale-coloured organic drinks, such as the Organic Elderflower Cordial. Our organic drinks tend to be darker than the equivalent non-organic drink, as our organic sugar is slightly browner than the non-organic sugar.
Flavours: We don’t use any artificial flavours in any of our drinks. We find that by using the best quality fruit juices and only natural extracts we just don’t need to use anything artificial. Each recipe is carefully created using only the best natural fruit juices and natural extracts to ensure that all our products taste lovely without compromise.
Other additives: The only E-number we use is citric acid. This is used to make our drinks more acidic, which sharpens the flavour. Chemically, it’s identical to the acid that makes lemons and limes sour. We also use carbon dioxide to gently carbonate the pressés.
What is the meaning of life?
I guess we find out when it’s over, but have a good life in the meantime!