Posted 14th Nov 2014
Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods produces delicious artisan liqueurs from their farmhouse in North Yorkshire, and brain's behind their great flavour, Julie Medforth, tells us how it all began
Foraging through the hedgerows of the Yorkshire Wolds, Julia Medforth picks the fruit that she will later make into her award-winning liqueurs for Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods. Her hand-made raspberry and sloe gins have become a popular choice for locals and customers in the north since she took to providing gin to guests at Raisthorpe Flyers, the shooting group she runs on the Raisthorpe Estate. A welcome touch to elevenses, the delightful taste of Julia's gin became such a hit that in 2008 she began bottling and selling her artisan liqueurs.
Using the farmhouse kitchen, Julia creates her masterpieces, at first using raspberries and sloes for gin before making port and sherry, then moving onto damson-flavoured liqueurs. Inspired by the wonderful, almost forgotten damson fruit, Julia has launched a new project entitled 'Damsons are Forever', a campaign designed to keep this flavoursome fruit from dying out. Keeping damsons alive on the Raisthorpe Estate, Julia plans to plant 30 new trees on 6th December, the first new orchard to be planted since the Sxties. Gaining support from locals and encouraging food writers, horticulturists and local chefs to put their support behind this diminishing fruit, Damsons are Forever is just the next step for this pioneering company.
Producing the UK's first sloe port, jelly and sherry, Raisthorpe Manor Fine
Foods aims to extract the best flavour from their fruits and turn them into delicious tasting liqueurs and preserves. Their latest liqueur, damson port, is the first ever produced in the UK. Using only the best of Yorkshire’s ingredients, Julia and her team, which includes local farmer's wives affectionately called liqueur ladies, proudly promote their use of locally sourced ingredients, something that helps their ambassadors working tirelessly in the north of the UK to spread the word about their liqueurs.
The liqueurs have a lovely shine and gloss to them due to the filtering process, while berries and stones are removed by hand and then sent to a local cake maker who turns them into delicious fruit cakes. Finally the liqueurs are bottled and labelled by hand, giving them their final seal of approval and the finishing touch to a carefully sourced and lovingly prepared liqueur. With her product range having developed organically, Julia says she works on pure instinct and customer interaction to propel her ideas.
Currently found in Harvey Nichols bars across the UK, exciting palates of unsuspecting customers, Julia's liqueurs continue to grow in popularity, and her newly created star product, damson port, will be her next success as she continues producing artisan tipples for the nation to enjoy.
To buy Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods liqueurs or preserves visit www.raisthorpemanor.com
By Lauren Morton
Images courtesy of Raisthorpe Estate