Over the years a growing number of those I’ve taught have entered the annual Marmalade Awards at Dalemain in Cumbria. In 2018 the organisers announced a record 3000 entries. From first time entrants to seasoned artisan producers, their Gold or Double Gold Awards has generated huge satisfaction. At a time when the traditional craft of making authentic marmalade is being challenged by very different products called marmalade, this post celebrates some outstanding achievements.
Larder and Spade
Entrants in this category come from many countries other than the UK. In 2014 and 2016 I taught Annette Guyatt, owner of Larder and Spade an artisan from Australia who has recently seen her products stocked in David Jones. In 2017 Larder and Spade won Gold for a Seville, Cumquat and Cranberry Marmalade. Annette also won three Golds at the Australian Marmalade Awards in 2016 and another Gold in 2017 for her Seville orange Marmalade.
An exchange of emails and courses at Vale House Kitchen, helped empower Lesa Cross to market her We’re Jammin label and enter competitions. After a Gold Award for Seville orange Marmalade at the Taste of the West competition in 2017, Lesa won Gold this year at the Marmalade Awards for her Medium Cut Seville orange Marmalade.
I first tasted Melissa Graeme’s exceptional preserves whilst judging at Taunton Flower Show in 2011. Melissa is a rarity as she can make the full range of preserves brilliantly and in recent years she has helped me road test courses for Denman College. When Melissa won Gold for an exquisite Seville and Ginger Marmalade at Taste of the West in 2017, I encouraged her to enter the Marmalade Awards. This year, as a first time entrant she won Gold for her Medium Cut Seville orange Marmalade.
Atsuko Hayashi is no stranger to success at the Marmalade Awards. In 2015 and 2016 she won the Amateur Any Citrus category for marmalades made with Yuzu. Following these winning years, Atsuko launched the English Kitchen label and started to enter the Artisan classes at the Marmalade Awards. In 2017 she won two gold awards with the Yuzu and other flavours. Given her ability to make marmalade I was surprised to see her name on my student list for a course I taught at Denman in February this year. I was flattered Atsuko had travelled from Japan with an interpreter to attend one of my courses. This year she was awarded four Golds at the Marmalade Awards. I look forward to tutoring Atsuko again this year and following her success in more competitions.
Hotel, Restaurant and B & B
As a new owner of a self-contained B&B, I value the importance of providing my guests with the best homemade marmalade for breakfast. I’ve taken a keen interest in this category at the Marmalade Awards since 2013 when I started to teach B & B owners in Somerset, Shropshire and Scotland. In 2015 I taught a group from Somerset including two who went on to win Gold and Double Gold Awards in 2017 and 2018.
I met Fran Ralli and Mike her late husband in 2012 at the Marmalade Awards, when I was selling copies of First Preserves and jars of my award winning Seville marmalade. Fran was keen to replicate the winning recipe for her guests as she had mixed results making marmalade using an Aga. After sharing hints and tips at a course the following year, Fran entered the Marmalade Awards in 2014 and won Gold for her Seville and Cointreau Marmalade.
Clavelshay Barn Restaurant
Sue Milverton has been making marmalade for years, but learning some new methods and developing her recipe was all that was necessary for her Seville and Amaretto Marmalade to win Gold and Double Gold in 2017. This year I made my own Seville and Amaretto and it’s become a favourite flavour combination.
Woodford House B&B
Anna Thomas had already won Gold and Double Gold in 2014 for her Seville & Kentucky Bourbon Marmalade. When she joined the class in 2015 we focussed on different cooking methods for making marmalade, the importance of using organic Sevilles from Ave Maria and great quality jars and new lids from Bottle Company South. Anna won Gold and Double Gold for her medium cut Seville orange Marmalade and Gold for her Seville orange and Kentucky Bourbon Marmalade in 2018.
I met Jim and Aoife in 2014 when they were renovating a property in Blairgowrie in Perthshire. They were perfect B & B hosts, nothing was too much to ask and their local knowledge of where to eat and places to visit enhanced my stay with them. Mindful of the interest I take in preserves for breakfast, I shared my jam and marmalade knowledge and jars of deliciousness started to appear on their tables for breakfast. We kept in touch by email and I was delighted when as first time entrants this year, Rosebank House won Gold for a Thin Cut Seville orange Marmalade.
All Hallows Farmhouse
This Aga approved cookery school with B & B accommodation in Dorset, is owned by Lisa Osman. Lisa invited me to teach a Seville orange Marmalade workshop in her well equipped and stylish kitchen in January 2016. Lisa was clearly happy with the marmalade on the day and this year she entered the Bed and Breakfast category for the first time and won Gold for a Fine Cut Seville Marmalade.
I’ve taught a number of men and Robert Walster who designed and was the photographer for First Preserves took to marmalade with a forensic passion. His Seville orange Marmalade was given full marks and Gold in 2012. The WI Judges declared it ” Excellent in every way.”
Quite often I make connections with preservers via social media that lead to me teaching them at one of my workshops. In 2013, Susan Mackenzie a first time entrant was given full marks and Gold in the Novice category for her Seville orange Marmalade. The judges described the entry as “wonderful”. My social media friend @Messy_Baker has a standard of marmalade making similar to her bread. In 2014, I took my preserving pan to her home in London and within a day she caught the marmalade bug. In 2016 her Seville and Bourbon Marmalade won Gold and a savoury Cumberland Seville won Gold in 2017.
Amateur Category Winners
I first met Angela Hickman when I was judging at the Taunton Flower Show in 2012. Angela was training to be a WI Cookery Judge, but was also interested in Preserves and shadowed me that year. This was mutually beneficial, as I realised Angela strived to make the range of preserves to a standard similar to mine. In subsequent years Angela has become a good friend and recently helped me test my Everyday Preserves course. We also had an unforgettable trip to Seville and Ave Maria in 2016. Angela is is a regular winner of Golds at the Marmalade Awards. In 2014 she won the Special Women’s Institute category, 2015 Gold for Dark and Chunky Marmalade, 2016 Gold for Merry Marmalade and 2017 category winner for Dark and Chunky Marmalade.
In the past, my daughters have not expressed interest in making marmalade. Some years ago, the youngest remarked it might be something she would do in retirement. This year, a Legal Marmalade category renewed my desire to get my eldest daughter into marmalade.
As a solicitor in Bristol, Lydia was eligible to enter the competition. Finding a time for me to teach her was a challenge, with her work, singing with the Exultate Singers, training for the Brighton Marathon and planning a wedding in June, she was busy. We had just one day, the marmalade was made and the entry, a Creditors’ Seville Marmalade won the category. How satisfying for me to know that ten years after I won the Amateur Seville Marmalade category and crowned the overall winner, my daughter won the Legal Marmalade category with the same recipe.