Several years ago a radio jingle regularly promoted Kerikeri as the ‘sunshine centre of the Bay of Islands’. Irritating as that ear-worm was, its effectiveness helped to cement Kerikeri’s persona as a fruit-filled tropical paradise. It conveyed an image of blue skies, golden sun and the citrus for which the town is justly famous, an image that’s been perfectly captured on the labels of Sovrano Limoncello’s lemon and orange-based liqueurs.

When I wrote about the Loggia’s family business in 2016 (NZTODAY issue 68), the company had won at least 16 awards, mostly gold medals, but also a platinum medal. More recently the family’s original Limoncello and the delectable Limoncello Cream have won more major international awards, with both liqueurs receiving golds at the International Beverage Institute competition in September 2018.

This lemon tree is the oldest citrus tree in New Zealand

Owner Andrea Loggia credits their success to the fresh, perfect taste of Kerikeri lemons as well as their traditional family recipe. Orangello, Orangello Cream, Caffelisir and vodka are still produced, but the range has expanded to include chocolate liqueur Chococello, and Nocino, a walnut liqueur.

And it doesn’t stop there. For the past two years, Sovrano has manufactured a very small batch of about 150 bottles of Rosolio rose liqueur. On early January mornings, before the sun comes up, Andrea picks blooms from their own rose bushes and extracts their essential oils and colour to create this special-occasion liqueur that is sold in time for Valentine’s Day. “When the product brews, it becomes bright pink, but you can’t pick the roses once the sun comes out.” says Andrea.

Andrea and Marzia Loggia with the roses used to make the liqueur

In response to my query about whether there are more flavours in the pipeline, he replies that there is a family recipe book with hundreds of recipes. “But while there are plans for expanding the orchards and the production facility, at present we’re focusing on the need to balance making the liqueurs and promoting them, while maintaining the highest quality standards,” he points out.

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