With Paddington at the cinemas turning thoughts to marmalade-loving bears, it seems appropriate that The World’s Original Marmalade Awards will celebrate 10 sticky years in 2015.
To mark this milestone over the weekend of February 28 and March 1, bells will ring out from Melbourne in Australia to St Mary le Bow in London and back to Dalemain (near Penrith, Cumbria) where the awards are held every year.
A new marmalade-making category is being introduced especially for campanologists (bell ringers). This will run alongside old favourites such as Merry Marmalade and The Stirring of the Clans.
People are also being encouraged to do a little experimentation and enter the Marmalade MacNab – a citrus marmalade to be eaten with savoury food.
There is a beginners’ category and the Children’s Marmalade winners will be awarded a special certificate by that famous marmalade lover turned film star, Paddington.
Entries for the awards, sponsored by Mackays of Dundee, Fortnum and Mason, Paddington Bear, Mrs Bridges Marmalade and the wine merchants Laithwaite’s, with a close on February 15.
Gold, silver and bronze accolades are up for grabs for the best recipes. The double gold star winner will also see their marmalade made by a commercial kitchen and stocked in Fortnum and Mason, with 50p from the sale of every jar going to charity.
Last year more than 2,400 golden jars of marmalade were entered into the increasingly popular competition. They came from as far away as Australia, South Africa, South Korea, New Zealand and Alaska.
Participants have been getting more inventive and competitive over the last decade and awards founder and organiser Jane Hasell-McCosh, who lives at Dalemain with husband Robert, says early entries look set to push the boundaries of marmalade-making even further.
There seems to have been a resurgence in marmalade consumption in general.
Martin Grant, managing director of Mackays, which sponsors the international section, says: “We are finding an ever increasing demand for marmalade around the world and now export to over 60 countries. However, there is also a very important home-made marmalade contingent, as was seen in Jane Hasell-McCosh’s recent visit to Australia and Mackays of Dundee are keen to encourage them.”
Jane adds: “When I was in Australia I realised that there is now an international community of marmalade which I like to think has its heart in Cumbria with one aim to make and eat really good marmalade.”
Apart from the hotly contested marmalade making sections, next year’s awards will also see patron Paddington Bear dropping by to preside over a Magnificent Marmalade Tea Party.
Other entertainment will include 500 entries to taste, workshops on how to use marmalade in cooking, an Ivan Day lecture and tutored marmalade and wine tastings.
On March 1 there will also be an Epic Marmalade Run and a marmalade church service.
Details about entering can be found at www.marmaladeawards.com .