Cumbria’s Dalmain Mansion and Gardens has been the home of the Hasell-McCosh Family for eleven generations and since 2005 it has been home to the quirky marmalade awards. The goal of the awards was that of preserving the traditional British custom of making marmalade. They have grown from humble beginnings first attracting around 60 entries to now inspiring people from all over the world to participate and attracting thousands of entries.

 

Competition is stiff and the panel of judges certainly know their marmalade.  This year received a record number of Artisan entries, with over 30 countries sending in their jars. Indeed 2017 has been another triumphant year for marmalade and one in which I was proud to be involved in.

 

Over the years I have made allsorts of marmalade and have had great fun experimenting with flavours. Indeed when I was looking through some photographs earlier in the week I came across lots of images of me making marmalade with Hattie and Libby before they were of school age. Indeed the girls have grown and so to have my marmalade making efforts.  My first entry to the World’s Original Marmalade Awards consisted of just one type of marmalade, a very nice pineapple and Seville orange number, it didn’t win any prizes, but I learned an awful lot about what the judges were looking for from this first entry.

This year I entered nine types of marmalade and received 7 certificates, four of these were silver awards. I was thrilled to receive not only certificates, but glowing commendations from the judges. The judges praises were especially important to me as the Artisan judges for 2017 were a prestigious panel of food industry experts, including Sam Rosen-Nash from Fortnum & Mason and Dan Lepard, food writer and baking guru.

 

This year I finally managed to get to the awards. It was a long drive from West Wales to Penrith, and the weather was sadly rather wet and windy, but I was delighted to finally collect my certificates in person and to briefly speak with Jane Hassell-McCosh the founder of the awards.

 

The guest of honour at the festival was the Japanese Ambassador, who was delighted to attend and taste the many Japanese entries ahead of plans for a Dalemain sister festival of Marmalade in Japan. Indeed it seems that the Japanese have a real flair for making marmalade and they have had great success at the awards.

For the entire weekend the rain lashed down and the weather was so bad that the car park at Dalemain had to be closed at10am on the Saturday, as five cars had already got stuck in the mud, however, there was still a fantastic atmosphere at the event and marmalade makers and enthusiasts from around the country and indeed globe gathered to celebrate the wonder that is marmalade.

 

Speaking of this years awards Jane Hasell-McCosh, said: “It has been wonderful to see how people’s love of marmalade has created a passionate community all around the world. It has been a great honour and joy to welcome so many marmalade makers to my home in Cumbria in celebration of such a well loved preserve’’

 

Clutching my award certificates and a jar or two of marmalade made by other award winners it was time for me to head off  home, but I did so with thoughts of marmalade whirling around my head and ideas for next years entries already forming.

 

My challenge now, will be to scale up my marmalade making and get it stocked in some nice farm shops and delicatessens. I am currently working on my revised labels, that will now sport the award winning roundel and I am holding high hopes for other competitions I am entered into this. Let’s hope that 2017 continues to be a winning year for my rather boozy marmalade.