The South Canterbury town of Geraldine is home to some of New Zealand’s most successful food producers.
Barkers Fruit started producing fruit syrups in 1969 and many Kiwis have grown up drinking their famous blackcurrant and lemon barley cordials. The company has since branched into jam, chutneys, dressings and sauces and while their products sell in supermarkets, buying direct from the centre of Geraldine lets you try before you buy.
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Addmore Products doesn’t have its own outlet, but its elderflower cordial is sold in the Barkers shop, and at the local Verde Cafe Deli. Its cordial and sparkling drinks, made from locally grown flowers, are excellent alternatives to alcohol.
A couple of doors down from Barkers is Talbot Forest Cheese (the cheese is made in a factory behind the shop, which you can see through a viewing window). You can pick up a generous wedge of Maasdam, Cumin Gouda or a Mt Peel Blue.
Further along the main street is Coco, the Geraldine outlet for Queenstown’s Chocolate Brown.
Its handmade confectionary is almost too pretty to eat: pralines decorated with intricate swirls of coloured dots, chocolate mice, turtles and butterflies.
There’s also hot chocolate by the cup, made from melted Belgian chocolate and cream. How do they make hot chocolate this good? It’s a secret recipe so we’ll never find out.
Clearwaters Organic Dairy doesn’t have a retail store either, but its Cream Top Yoghurt is available at the supermarket in Geraldine. It’s made using the ‘pot set’ method, which maximises its probiotic content. It’s also made from whole, not homogenised milk and makes up for every low-fat dairy product you’ve ever been persuaded to consume for the sake of your arteries.
It’s things like this that make Geraldine food producers so outstanding: their focus is on high-quality, unadulterated food, made with local ingredients as much as possible. It’s not the kind of fare that nutritionists would necessarily recommend, but there’s something to be said for putting flavour and freshness ahead of cholesterol levels.