Winners were announced for the 13th World’s Original Marmalade Awards at the Dalemain Marmalade Festival in Cumbria on 17th March. Far from being unlucky, the 13th year attracted record numbers of Artisan entries and over 3,000 jars in total from over 30 countries worldwide, cementing the fact that this local competition has become a landmark international event.

The Best In Show for 2018 was Janice Miners from Cornwall, whose delicious Grapefruit and Gin marmalade scooped the coveted prize. Her zesty, fresh flavours wowed the judges and she shot straight to the top, despite this being the first time she had entered the competition. Her homemade marmalade will be produced by Thursday Cottage and sold at Fortnum & Mason in their prestigious Piccadilly store, with 50p from each jar going to Hospice at Home Carlisle & the North West.

Janice said: “I feel very honoured to have won as there was an amazing array of marmalades on show, and some really different combinations. The prize of having my marmalade made and sold at Fortnum & Masons, what an honour, it’s something that I will never forget, and I would like to thank Dalemain and their sponsors for arranging such a prestigious event, and all the other competitors for entering and making the event so special.

I entered as I read an article in a newsletter from Wares of Knutsford. It was all about the competition and I thought what a good idea to raise funds for charity. I have entered local competitions before but nothing as wide ranging and with so many entries as this, so I thought I would have a go. I chose Gin which I thought would enhance the flavour of the grapefruit – sharp but not bitter, when you spread it on your toast in the morning, it’s one of those tastes that makes you think about the flavour.”

The 2018 Awards were a celebration of quirkiness and individuality in marmalade making, with the new ‘Thursday Cottage Prize for Innovation’ awarded to the most inventive Homemade marmalade. The winner was Veda Karlo, a marmalade maker from New York whose Seville Orange, Cranberry and Horseradish Marmalade defied all expectations to seize the prize, working the unusual flavours together effortlessly.

Chris Newenham, director of Thursday Cottage said: “Creating a delicious award winning marmalade in a domestic kitchen is a challenge but developing that recipe for Thursday Cottage’s commercial kitchen so that  hundreds/thousands of jars  of marmalade can be made is an even greater challenge. We are delighted to have played our part by producing this amazing marmalade  that will now be enjoyed by so many people.”

The southern counties also shone in the Artisan Awards this year, with the Double Gold Award for the best traditional marmalade awarded to Clare’s Preserves in Devon for her smooth Seville Marmalade with Dartmoor Honey and the Double Gold Award for the best savoury marmalade going to Mary Longford of Absolutely Preserves for her Smoky Seville Marmalade with Urfa Pepper and Star Anise. International marmalade makers continue to dazzle, with Double Gold winner Seiko Ninomiya making the journey to Dalemain from Japan for the festival, along with Gold winners from Malta, Canada, the USA and Australia.

As well as international entrants, the Festival welcomed a number of high profile guests including the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Japan and the Deputy High Commissioner of India Ambassador Patnaik, who helped to judge the hotly contested Commonwealth competition with Richard Burge, head of the CWEIC and Claire Hensman, Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria. Festival organisers were also delighted to welcome the Mayor of Yawatahama, Japan, who announced plans for the first ever Japanese Festival of Marmalade in Yawatahama in 2019, as a sister festival to the Dalemain Marmalade Awards.

The Hotel, Restaurant and B&B category continues to champion exceptional places to stay for quality marmalade, with the eviivo award for the best marmalade to go with a traditional cooked breakfast awarded in 2018 to Woodford House for their Classic Seville Marmalade, which was also recognised as a Double Gold entry, and the Japanese Embassy Restaurant scooping the other coveted Double Gold Award.

With Cumbria proving the heart of the marmalade making world, the Penrith Goes Orange Marmalade Festival was even bigger and better than ever, with a huge programme of music, circus skills, dance and more as the whole town once again ‘went orange’, with decorated shop windows, teddy bear zip lines and marmalade treasure trails.

Jane Hasell-McCosh, founder of the Awards, said: “I think this is a very exciting time to be making preserves, as we are seeing how people’s love for marmalade and creativity have led to a true embracing of the versatility of the preserve, with all sorts of interesting flavours and ingredients being incorporated. The fact that the traditional flavours continue to flourish amongst their more inventive counterparts is proof of their quality, and I am equally delighted to see the traditional Seville continuing to do so well as I am to see such wonderful new flavours. The Marmalade community has continued to grow and I am so delighted to be involved in plans for a new Japanese festival, as well as to welcome so many people from all over the world to my home Dalemain this weekend. The Penrith Goes Orange committee must be highly commended for taking the festival to another level with such an innovative and exciting family day out.”

The Awards are sponsored by Fortnum & Mason, Thursday Cottage and eviivo and are proud to raise money for palliative care around the world. The key beneficiary is Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakes and to date the Awards have raised well over £220,000 for charity.