If there’s such a thing as a perfect cordial, Jane Boniface has just about nailed it.

For the past decade, her hand-made cordials have been winning awards at fine food competitions all over the country, including at this year’s Hobart Fine Food Show, where her Rancho Relaxo Lime and Ranch Relaxo Mandarin cordials scored an impressive 98 and 97 out of 100 respectively and took home the Reserve Champion  beverage award.

Jane, who drives a beloved lime green Kombi to and from the farmers market each week to sell her cordials, says her secret formula is the combination of premium grade organic fruit from her farm and the special small-batch method (only 14 bottles at a time) that she uses. She also keeps her recipes simple – freshly squeezed lime or mandarin juice, blended with spring water and her hand made sugar syrup. None of the colours, flavours, thickeners additives or nasty preservatives that are used so freely in commercial cordials.

“Read the ingredients on a lot of those cordials. I can’t pronounce most of those words that are in there. There’s so many chemicals,” she said.

Jane started making her cordials when she and partner Jose moved to their citrus farm at Numulgi, near Dunoon, in 2002. The lime was first, then a few years later, the mandarin.  Not one to sit still for too long, Jane recently started looking for another flavour, and settled on Elderflower.

“I’d seen an elderflower cordial at one of the food festivals and I thought –  I can do that. And then I started doing the research and I couldn’t believe how good they are for you.” (The elder plant has been used medicinally for centuries in Europe as an immune booster and for respiratory health).

To make her elderflower cordial, Jane uses her homegrown, hand picked elderflowers (it’s a seasonal cordial, as elderflowers only bloom in the warmer months), soaks them with organic lemons for 48 hours then hand squeezes the liquid through muslin. It has a refreshing floral and lemon flavour that’s perfect on a summer’s day (or as a special addition to your champagne, vodka or gin).

With so many awards for the lime and mandarin already under her belt, Jane now has her sights set on the same recognition for the elderflower, and has already made plans to enter it in next year’s Hobart awards.



• Words and photos by Kate O’Neill.