Belvoir Fruit Farms has collaborated with Gill Meller, chef, author and food writer, to use his expertise in matching their Pressé and Cordial range with food. Using experience gleaned from years of working in restaurants and as Head Chef at River Cottage, Gill has successfully identified which of Belvoir’s drinks partner well with popular dishes and styles of food. Now customers can choose the best soft drink to have with their meal, taking into consideration acidity and sweetness, just as they would a glass of wine.
The most popular Belvoir drinks served in the pub and hospitality sector are six Pressé flavours sold in their stylish 25cl bottle range: Elderflower Pressé, Ginger Beer, Freshly Squeezed Lemonade, Lime & Lemongrass, Raspberry Lemonade and Cox Apple Pressé.
I love serving this delicate, floral pressé with grilled or pan-roasted fish. It’s particularly good with wild sea bass, especially when cooked with a little fresh thyme. The heady, lemony edge and gentle fizz also make it an incredible accompaniment to young cheeses, particularly soft creamy goat’s cheeses.
This surprising infusion takes the fiery, zesty qualities of fresh root ginger to a new level. There are notes of honey and lemon in here too and I think this lovely blend is perfectly matched to dark sticky pork ribs or warm, sweet, honey and mustard-baked gammons.
Freshly Squeezed Lemonade
The flavour of this lemonade is so traditional and authentic – it takes you straight back to English fetes and summer picnics. Unsurprisingly, it works really well with foods that are accentuated by the zing of fresh lemon such as proper fish and chips or crisp, whole-tail scampi.
Lime & Lemongrass Pressé
This fruity pressé is bursting with charm, warmth and character. It’s laced with sharp, zesty notes from the lime, which make it a perfect counterpoint to rich roasts and slow, low braises. Try it with spiced pork belly that’s been gently cooked for hours with garlic, anise and chilli. The lemongrass adds a further citrussy note that marries well with fragrant green curries and piquant noodle dishes.
Raspberry pink, like bottled summer, this deeply scented, cool berry lemonade makes the ideal partner to fish and shellfish. Serve it over ice alongside delicate fish or crab cakes. It’s also stunning with good quality pork sausages, the acidity from the lemon cutting their richness perfectly.
Cox Apple Pressé
An extremely refreshing apple pressé, with a mellow complexity and subtle fizz, this manages to capture the true smoky essence of fresh cox apples. Serve it as you might a cool, appley cider: with a good burger, a smoky hotdog or some tender pulled pork and apple sauce.
The role of soft drinks has been transformed in recent years as consumers’ drinking habits have changed, generally becoming more health conscious; today one in five adults state they are teetotal and consume no alcohol at all*. This means that the soft drink offering in an outlet has become more important and is necessarily treated as a serious part of the business. To be able to recommend a suitable soft drink with dishes on the menu, alongside the correct wine or ale, ensures that the customer will have the best experience possible and enjoy their meal.
Pev Manners, MD of Belvoir Fruit Farms says: “We’ve always thought our drinks, made with natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners, flavourings or preservatives, go well with food, so it has been a pleasure to work with Gill and have our beliefs confirmed! His expertise has helped identify the aspect of each of our drinks that compliments a particular taste profile and so our food pairing suggestions have become more sophisticated to match the consumers’ palate and our customers’ menus. We hope that they find it useful and that it helps to boost their sales of Belvoir drinks.”
As well as the six recommendations for hot dishes, Gill has provided suggested pairings for classic sandwiches for food-on-the-go outlets. For Gill Meller’s complete list of food pairings visit www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk