A Northland family business producing traditional Italian lemon liqueur has won two more gold medals at a US competition to add to an already formidable collection.

Sovrano Limoncello, based at Skudders Beach near Kerikeri, was awarded gold in the Chicago-based Beverage Tasting Institute 2018 awards for its cream limoncello and original limoncello.

The original was the top-rated limoncello in the competition and the cream version was also named the best buy.

Since 2010, when the Loggia family won their first gold medal from the Beverage Testing Institute, they have chalked up 20 awards from tasting competitions in Chicago, San Francisco, London and Florida — including a rare platinum award in 2015.

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Founders Andrea and Marzia Loggia said the awards meant they were beating home-based Italians at their own game.

They put their success down to Kerikeri lemons, which provided ''ideal'' zest for top-quality limoncello, as well as a traditional family recipe.

"Having tasted hundreds of limoncello, we know the importance of using fresh and perfect ingredients and that's what Kerikeri lemons provide. The secret of limoncello must be in the pungent after-taste," Andrea Loggia said.

The Loggia family — Andrea, Marzia and sons Paolo and Stefano — left Milan, in northern Italy, and settled in Kerikeri in 2007. Since then they have also had a daughter, Izabella, now aged six.

They started by selling their liqueurs at local markets and trade shows; now Sovrano Limoncello is sold around New Zealand and exported to Australia, the US and China.
Their product range has expanded and now includes orangello, a coffee liqueur called Caffelisir, chocolate liqueur, walnut liqueur and vodka.

They plan to expand their orchards and production capability with new equipment due to arrive at the end of this month. They are also planning to hire up to three extra workers to meet demand from overseas markets.