Thank you to everyone who visited Dalemain Mansion on the Marmalade Festival weekend! Despite the rain, it was a fantastic event and we are so delighted with the huge numbers of people who braved the weather to attend, taste the marmalades, visit the state rooms and take part in the lectures and talks. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition, and to the patrons and sponsors – Fortnum & Mason, Thursday Cottage and eviivo – and finally thank you to all of the helpers. This would never be able to happen without you all!

We are so thrilled that over 40 countries competed in this year’s marmalade competition, which saw over 3,000 entries overall, but it is Beth Furnell from Flint, Wales, who has seen off all the competition to claim the grand prize of ‘Best in Show’ with her ‘Bitter Sweet’ Marmalade. There is nothing bitter about her victory, as her marmalade will now be commercially produced by Thursday Cottage and sold throughout the year, with 50p from each jar going to Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakeland.

Beth saysI have competed every year since winning the First Timers category in 2014, and to win Best in Show is such an amazing thrill. On receiving my first award, Dan Lepard encouraged us all to be creative and look to the artisan marmalade makers for inspiration. I love cooking with marmalade, it’s so versatile. Marmalade bread and butter pudding, marmalade mascarpone cream (delicious with homemade xmas pud) and a savoury sauce to go with duck. Divine.’

Donna Smith, Director of Thursday Cottage and one of the judges of the 2019 Awards, says: “Judging marmalade is always a challenge and when I approached the room full of colourful jars of marmalade this year it seemed as daunting as ever. There were some extraordinary marmalades and the team of judges have found some worthy winners!’

The Artisan Double Gold winners have proven once and for all that marmalade is no longer just an orange spread for your toast, but a preserve loved around the world. Ke Ya is a Taiwanese marmalade maker, and her win has dazzled her home country, where it has led to an invitation to meet the President! A&E preserves from the Netherlands took the International Double Gold and Annie Watson of Cakebole Orchards, Worcestershire, took the Double Gold for the Best Traditional Marmalade, wowing the judges with her perfectly balanced flavours.

Awards founder Jane Hasell-McCosh says: ‘It has been a joy to announce this year’s winners, who are all masters in the world of preserve making, and fantastic to welcome people to Dalemain from all around the globe. Every year the number of international entrants and visitors grows, and we are so privileged in such polarising times to be part of something that truly unites people. A love of marmalade, citrus, recipes and food heritage has brought together so many people and it is truly wonderful to welcome friends old and new and to see our marmalade community grow.’

The Marmalade Festival is launching a sister competition in Ehime, Japan this May, and the Minister of Economy for the Embassy of Japan was at the Dalemain Awards to present the prizes, and represent this growing partnership. The competition has long been wildly popular in Japan and a record number of Japanese Gold winners made the trip to Dalemain this year to collect their Awards where they were served green tea by Japanese experts traditionally dressed in kimonos. As well as Japan, Taiwan and the Netherlands, the competition also welcomed winners to Cumbria from countries including Austria, Canada, Malta and Hong Kong!

Britain continues to hold her own in the world of marmalade, and as well as claiming the grand Homemade prize, it was Wales who also claimed the top prize in the B&B category, winning the eviivo Award for the best marmalade to go with a traditional cooked breakfast. Jenny Whitham of Owl Lodge B&B was awarded the prize for her Seville Orange Marmalade, whilst ‘Mrs Berry’ of Japan was awarded a Double Gold for her Yuzu Preserve, which is sold in her establishment in Japan.

Although storms have been hitting the UK all week, the Festival went on in glorious orange magnificence and visitors to Dalemain were treated to a day of music, lectures, cookery demonstrations, workshops and, of course, tons and tons of marmalade from around the world! The event was supported by Cumbria Chamber of Trade and Commerce, who provided Cumbria’s Classic Coaches including a Route Master to take visitors to and from Dalemain, as well as organising lots of orange shop windows and exciting offers in the town.