The ‘Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ most certainly lives up to its name with many beautiful hikes, dog walks and adventures to be had. The Surrey Hills possesses beauty in which people travel far and wide to see, however, this isn’t the case for Matt Burgess who resides a short drive away in Reigate.
By Jamie Di Francescomarino
Matt and his family have explored the irresistibility of the Surrey Hills many times whilst taking their dog for a walk, but one of their expeditions was not like any other when they discovered the Hurtberry – for themselves.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the Hurtberry (which admittedly was me before researching for this article), will be astonished you hadn’t heard of it sooner. Having been eaten by local tribes dating back to the Iron Age, the berry is most certainly not a new part of English wildlife. It can be found all over parts of the Surrey Hills but particularly in the area surrounding the Hurtwood forest.
Other common names for the Hurtberry are Whortleberry, Huckleberry, Hurtleberry and Trackleberry but what I enjoy most is the origin of the word, Hurt. Whilst the exact origin of the word is still unknown there are a few theories.
The most notable and possibly my favourite originates from the Germanic tribes which settled the Hurtwood two millennia ago. Hurt is linked to their word ‘hort/horte’, derived from the English word ‘Hoard’ or more befittingly ‘Treasure’.
After discovering Surrey Hills’ hidden treasure, Matt Burgess decided he had to do something in which the locals of Surrey (and hopefully the nation) can enjoy the palatable joy the Hurtberry has to offer. With this locally sourced ingredient, Matt and his team of Reigate based staff created Hurt Liqueur.
The extraordinary taste of Hurt Liqueur which embraces the Hurtberry; boosted by specially
selected botanicals, is to be enjoyed in many ways. After trying the delectable liqueur myself, my personal choice would be to enjoy it in a tipple of G&T, but other popular choices would be to partner the liqueur with all various types of sparkling wines such as Champagne, Cava and Prosecco, enjoy it on the rocks or even splash some on Ice Cream for a mouth-watering dessert choice.
I honestly can’t think of a better way to incorporate a locally grown product into not only something for all alcohol aficionados to enjoy, but also into something that is the consumable variant of the beauty the Surrey Hills has to offer.