Speading the Ap-‘peel’ of Marmalade

How do you have your toast in the morning? In this age of mass production, it might seem like the average Brit is more likely to reach for a tub of Nutella than a jar of home-made marmalade, but the Dalemain  Festival has proved this not to be the case.

As the  Awards enter their 12th year, the popularity of good quality, artisan marmalade is on the rise and the future is looking golden for marmalade.

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The annual awards, which take place in Dalemain, just outside of Penrith, are renowned as a unique competition and are entered and judged by the most dedicated of marmalade lovers, Pam ‘The Jam’ Corbin and Dan Lepard have been the esteemed judges for the last decade, tasting the world’s best selection of preserves.

The Awards were founded with the purpose of growing and championing this very British custom and the event is an opportunity for marmalade creators to shine, with the winners receiving huge international recognition and exposure. When launched in 2005, the first competition received just 50 entries, last year 3,500 entries were sent in from as far afield as Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Singapore.

With huge international interest, the awards are now becoming established in other countries. The inaugural Australian Festival recently launched under the umbrella organisation ‘The Dalemain World’s Marmalade Awards and Festival’. This is the first fringe event to be launched in another country, marking an exciting new chapter in the marmalade world. Founder, Jane Hasell-McCosh will be visiting the festival in Adelaide as a judge.

Throughout the event, Jane will taste over 700 jars of marmalade and she has certainly had more than enough experience to know the criteria for a good-quality concoction. The perfect marmalade must tick all the boxes – as well as tasting amazing, it should be visually pleasing because we “eat with our eyes”, have a great aroma when you open the jar and the peel must be cooked properly to achieve a good texture. Last but by no means least, all top-notch marmalade must pass the “toast test’ –  have a consistency that you can spread on your toast, but won’t fall off.

Jane said: “With some you just know straight away that this is the winner. It’s very exciting because with every jar you think ‘this might be the one’ and when we do find the one we are saying it is the best homemade marmalade in the world.”

This year will also see the launch of a number of the Homemade Competition for amateur marmalade makers along with a number of other exciting new categories. These include Gardener’s Marmalade, for inventive gardeners who grow their own ingredients, ‘Octogenarians & Upwards’, a special category that recognizes the huge gift that older people give to cooking and ‘Children’s Marmalade’ for Children aged 13 and under.
TheAwards 2017 will take place on Saturday 18 – Sunday 19 March at Dalemain House and Gardens. To find out more visit www.marmaladeawards.com

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