One of the joys of the World’s Original Marmalade Awards has always been welcoming entries from all around the world. We love celebrating the growing global communities of marmalade makers, and being introduced to new types of citrus fruits. In 2020 we welcomed an incredibly exciting addition to the marmalade family, with the launch of the first ever Senegalese marmalade celebrations!
In January 2020, a number of Women’s Co-operatives across Senegal took part in the World’s Original Marmalade Awards, sending their marmalade to Dalemain to be judged by our expert panel. These Co-operatives hope to sell and export their products, made using local ingredients, and were excited to receive feedback.
To celebrate these entries a small festival was held in Ziguinchor, in the Casamance area of Senegal. With speeches, music, dancing and – of course – marmalade tasting, it was the perfect send off for these precious pots.
These Women’s Co-operatives have been assisted in their marmalade making ambitions by Georgina Regàs, who is herself an Award-winning producer from Barcelona, Spain. Georgina visited Senegal in 2010 and was in high demand from interested parties in Dakar and Sanghe for assistance in their jam production.
In 2015 she met Mamadou Saliou, of Diandé Africa and joined their experience and vital force to develop a project that gives work to women in the Casamance region in order to finance the education of their sons and daughters. She assisted in the founding of a number of Women’s Co-operatives in Senegal, with the aim of producing and selling high-quality local products.
Initially funded, these Co-operatives will be self-sufficient, and plans are already underway for the export of a number of jams and marmalades. A photography book titled ‘Jams, Marmalade and Jellies’ is in production, and will raise additional funds. Although marmalade making is new to many of these women, they are well used to making the most of their local fruits – making juices, drying slices and making meals and desserts.
Marmalade production was soon underway, and the Marmalade Awards team were delighted to receive a selection of beautifully wrapped jars of marmalade – the first ever received from Senegal! Made with African bitter oranges, they are similar to Seville’s but smaller, with a stronger sour taste, especially in the skin. Some entries also included other local fruits – as well as marmalade, these co-operatives are busy making jams with mango, papaya and bissap fruit flowers.
Sadly Jane Hasell-McCosh, Marmalade Awards founder, was unable to attend the marmalade celebrations in Ziguinchor, but she composed a speech to be read out at the beginning of the festivities, when the producers presented their marmalade for the competition.
A welcome message from the Mayor of Ziguinchor was followed, charmingly, by another slice of Englishness. This came in the form of the ‘Marmalade Song’ which is sung by Stainton School at the beginning of every Marmalade Festival at Dalemain. Local school CEM Lyndiane took on the challenge, performing the song to the crowds.
Visitors were then treated to marmalade tasting, a performance by musician Denis Singuila, and music by the Orchestra Djola Bugurup, which led to a lively dance party! The perfect send off for these intrepid jars…
Upon their arrival in the UK, the jars were tasted by the judges, who were delighted to try these products for the first time. Georgina’s faith in their quality proved well founded, as they received Silver, Bronze and Commended Awards – exceptional for their first year!
Since the publication of these results, the Co-operatives have been busy practising for 2021, and with a number of new Co-operatives showing an interest, we hope that this partnership will help to foster friendship and perfect preserve making throughout Senegal. We send our best wishes to all the Women’s Co-operatives in Senegal, and we can’t wait for 2021!