Picture the traditional breakfast table. The red and white chequered blanket, tassles hung lazily over the sides of the table, decorated in a desert of crumbs, showering from the surface of a piece of bread as the edge of a knife drags a smooth blanket of warm butter across the slice’s charred surface. A spiral of steam swirling and dancing towards the ceiling, emanating from the spout of a teapot, its delicate porcelain surface dressed in the warmth of a meticulously knitted tea cosy not far away. Glasses of orange juice sit as a refreshing chaser to the warmth and awakening nature of a freshly brewed pot of tea or coffee. You reach for a slice of toast to begin the breakfast ritual, before starting the day with a relaxed read of the paper, or the rush to work when business calls. But what do you choose?
All across the British countryside, farmers, cooks and chefs alike strive to push the boundaries of what we expect from the culinary industry, finding new and innovative ways to present the finest British produce, soon to be shipped to market stalls and supermarkets across the country. These brands are known as ‘artisan’, and are widely celebrated in Britain.
One such product taking the artisan world by storm is marmalade. In an age of mass production, the future of this fruit preserve has never been brighter. 2015’s victor, Sarah Churchill, the entrepreneur behind ‘Artisan Kitchen’ left this year’s Marmalade Festival a Double Gold winner for her Seville Orange Aperol Marmalade, picking up 17 awards along the way. Speaking about her glorious victory, she commented, “Such incredible news, we were celebrating for a week. The prize for winning double gold was a listing with Fortnum & Mason. This listing along with the competition has given my brand huge international exposure and recognition, and my business has seen a substantial increase in marmalade sales. The awards in my opinion are the benchmark for all artisan marmalades across the world and I can’t wait for the 2017 competition to begin. I use the opportunity of the competition to innovate and create new products and can’t wait to get started on some lovely new marmalades.”
Based in the picturesque grounds of The Lake District, The World’s Original Marmalade Awards were founded to expand and champion the production of marmalade, a trait widely considered to be a British tradition. Focusing on selecting only the highest quality marmalades, the Awards find themselves as somewhat of a niche competition, attracting only the most elite marmalade craftsmen and women. Judges at the Marmalade Awards include esteemed culinary profiles including Pam ‘the jam’ Corbin and Dan Lepard, who have been on the judge’s panel at the Awards for the past decade. The passion people demonstrate for marmalade can be witnessed in the quality of the preserves.
This passion’s presence has been felt, emanating from the UK creeping to the furthest corners of the world, including Australia and the United States of America. However, it may surprise you to know that for such a British accompaniment to the breakfast table, the award winning homemade marmalade is sold in Mitsukoshi, Japan. London marmalade maker, Hideko, believes that the charm of the Marmalade Awards is the opportunity to visit Penrith and Dalemain, where the Awards began. The Marmalade Awards’ popularity has seen a dramatic increase in sale, with plans put in place for a Christmas hamper, stuffed with award winning marmalades.
This global influence spawned the inaugural Australian Festival of Marmalade, launched by the South Australian National Trust, paying homage to the Awards’ roots by naming the umbrella organisation “The Dalemain World’s Marmalade Awards and Festival”, making it the first fringe event to be launched overseas, an exhilarating step forward in the marmalade world. Founder of the awards, Jane Hasell-McCosh is scheduled to visit Adelaide to participate in the Awards down under as a judge. In response, both festivals are being launched at an event at the Palace of Westminster, taking place in October, where the Australian High Commissioner will be in attendance.
Due to take place in March 2017, the Marmalade Awards will be sponsored by Fortnum & Mason and Mackays with an aspiration to inspire and celebrate new generations of Marmalade makers. To this end, Mackays have introduced an exciting new ‘Award for Excellence.’
With amateur marmalade makers in mind, 2017 sees the debut of The Homemade Competition, which puts home cooks of the condiment to the test, while raising money for Hospice care across the UK, and all over the world. A number of additional events to 2017’s Marmalade proceedings are due to be announced shortly, including a ‘Commonwealth’ Competiton, a new and unique festival as the town of Penrith ‘Goes Orange’ on the 18th and 19th March.
Find out about The World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival at:
The World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival – Marmalade Awards