Of all the things I missed most while bringing up baby last year, making fruit cordials, jellies and chutneys was high up my list. I love the process of growing your own food and and turning a glut of produce into jars and bottles of preserves; almost as much as I love to make something with foraged ingredients. This year I suspect my cordial making will depend upon donated fruit from kindly allotment neighbours or keeping an eye out for the elderflower blossom. It will certainly be inspired by my recent tastings of Five Valleys Cordials using herbal blends of mint and rose.
We didn’t know what flavour to expect when we said yes to reviewing Five Valleys fruit cordials. From previous posts you’ll know how much I love anything that’s had a mint leaf shaken at it so I was chuffed when the first bottle we opened was a refreshing blend of Lemon and Mint. As we were in the full throes of a cough lurgy the timing couldn’t have been better – a winter recipe card from Five Valleys with the cordial + orange juice in the fridge = a soothing Lemon and Mint Hottie.
The second bottle we sampled was Pomegranate and Rose cordial. I was instantly transported back to my student days in Lancaster when I used to buy Rose syrup from an Asian shop to add to milk. I’ve never found anything that comes close to the fragrant flavour of that drink; until now. The Pomegranate and Rose cordial is quite simply lovely and unlike the Rose syrup of 20 years ago is made from natural ingredients with no artificial colourings, sweeteners or preservatives. For someone like me who loves flower flavours no further enticement is needed but for someone less easily persuaded husband and wife team Chris and Becky from Five Valleys describe it as ”an exotic blend of the finest Pomegranate juice expertly mingled with the heady aroma of Rose petals with a hint of geranium – full of Eastern promise”.
Georges’s comment ”it’s a bit good that Pomegranate cordial” and the fact it was all gone in just a few days is quite an endorsement (this from someone who refers to my preference for Earl Grey tea as like ”drinking perfume”).
Five Valleys Cordials are based in Stroud, a short drive from us, but we hadn’t come across them before. In Gloucestershire you can find them at these Farmers Markets and health food shops. If you have a Waitrose near you or shop on-line at Ocado you’ll be very pleasantly surprised by the range of flavours on offer; Apricot and Ginger, Coconut and Kaffir Lime and Sloe and Raspberry in addition to the flavours we tried. Chris and Becky will be offering free tastings at several events this summer if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Dorchester, Cheltenham, London, Painswick or Birmingham. Just look out for the big smiles behind this banner.
With a strapline of ‘‘lovely cordials for lovely people’‘ who wouldn’t want to try a drop of loveliness?
© photos of 5 cordial bottles and event drink stand – Five Valleys Cordials
Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these cordials to review. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.