Preserving pans at dawn – return to the Dalemain marmalade competition 2011

February 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Husband Tim and I decided to go head to head this year and both enter jars of marmalade into the World Marmalade Awards at Dalemain in Cumbria. Tim achieved modest success last year and achieving 16 marks out of a possible 20 and hoped to up his game. Risking marital tension but unable to resist the challenge I decided to take him on and enter a jar of my own.

This was perhaps a little rash as I am practically a novice at marmalade making having only made one batch before. I was inspired by a slightly different recipe for marmalade which accompanied our Riverford organic fruit and veg box in mid January this year. This was accompanied by a little video clip of hunky Guy Watson, proprietor of the Riverford business nonchalantly cutting peel to make his version of marmalade. The differences are that the peel is removed from the orange using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler before shredding, resulting in delicate shreds rather than chunks, also there is markedly less sugar in his recipe. I thought that this less sweet marmalade might play well with the judges.

We decided to visit the Marmalade Awards in person as they take place up the road in Cumbria so it was the perfect excuse for a weekend away. We arrived early, parking on the sweeping lawns which front this rather lovely stately home. On into the courtyard to pay our entrance fee then with bated breath we entered the main house searching for our jars amongst the thousand plus entries…

I was surprised and delighted to discover my jar (Thin cut Seville category) with a silver award and 18 marks out of a possible 20…

But poor Tim (Man Made Seville category) was robbed with just 14 marks…

Still basking in my triumph a week later but hope I haven’t upset Tim too much.

It was a really fun day out and I was surprised to find both my sons enthralled by the marmalade making demo given by the very knowledgeable Jane Maggs who makes artisanal preserves under the name “Wild and Fruitful”:

The range and inventiveness of commercial marmalades on display was an eye-opener too. Clearly I wasn’t the only one attracted to this “Breakfast Mojito” marmalade made with limes, muddled mint and a healthy dash of white rum:

I can see that the Marmalade Awards are going to become an annual event in our household from now on with even younger son Arthur keen to enter a jar of his own next year.

My next post will be on the new recipe I used this year, annotated with top tips picked up from the demo plus ideas on how to pick up those extra marks from the demanding Women’s Institute judges.

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