Yes, you really can win awards for marmalade making!

Yes, you really can win awards for marmalade making!

Posted by The Wares Team on 24th Dec 2020

With 2020 being a year to remember for all of the wrong reasons, and with ever stricter lockdowns being imposed on the country through the difficult winter period, we all need something to look forward to at the moment, don’t we? In recent blog posts we’ve already been encouraging you to try your hand at making some marmalade over the coming weeks, since citrus fruit, and Seville oranges in particular, are in season right now.

But today we bring you the exciting news that the annual Dalemain Marmalade Awards, and Festival, are most definitely going to take place in 2021. Whether you are a seasoned hand, a complete novice or an artisan producer, there is an awards category that’s perfect for you, so there really is nothing stopping you from entering! Let’s find out a bit more about this quirky festival and competition.

More marmalade jars than you could possibly imagine!

When the Dalemain Marmalade Awards were first launched back in 2005, their creator Jane Hassell-McCoch had no idea just how popular they would become, with entries now received from all around the world. Now sponsored by Fortnum and Mason and Rathbones, the Awards and Festival raise considerable sums for the charity Hospice at Home.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably had a huge impact, the Dalemain team was determined to find a way to make the awards, and the associated festival, possible in 2021. Given the uncertainty surrounding the coming year, the only way to do this was to go virtual for 2021, and that is precisely what will happen.

Entries for the competition can be sent straight to Dalemain Mansion, where they will be judged. Winners will be announced online, and if it’s possible to hold outdoor events next summer, those winners will be invited to receive their awards at Dalemain Mansion, as part of the Dalemain Marmalade Festival. With entries expected from across the UK, as well as from overseas, competition for prizes and the kudos that goes with winning is fierce but friendly.

Are you ready with your marmalade jars?

If all this sounds like great fun then why not consider entering a jar or two yourself? There are all sorts of categories in the competition, so you are guaranteed to find an award that suits your level of expertise - and a few unusual categories to boot! First, choose whether to enter the Homemade Awards, the Artisan Awards or the Hotel, B&B and Restaurant Awards - it should be fairly self-evident which of these strands you fall into!

Focussing on the Homemade Awards, you can enter the Seville marmalade categories (clear or whole fruit), the Any Citrus categories, and a whole range of more unusual categories. There’s a children’s category, as well as a category for the over-80s (yes, really!) If you fancy adding a tipple of the strong stuff to your marmalade, you could enter it in the Merry Marmalade category, and if you like experimenting with your home preserves then ‘Marmalade with a Twist’ is the category for you.

Quite why there is a category specifically for bell-ringers is a mystery to us, but if that floats your boat then by all means go for it! There’s even a category for marmalades that are designed to be eaten with savoury foods. Why not fill a batch of glass jam jars with a range of different marmalades and enter as many categories as you’re eligible for?

How to enter

We are currently sending out entry forms with all orders, but you can also download the entry form from the Dalemain website if you prefer. While the closing date for entries is not until February 10th, 2021, it makes sense to start thinking about your entries now, so that you have plenty of time to perfect your chosen recipes. And of course, you may need to stock up on glass jam jars first, and then source the very best Seville oranges or other citrus fruits.

If you’re a winner, you won’t have long to wait, as award notifications are to be sent out shortly after the closing date and then on March 13th the awards will be publicly announced. And if lockdown restrictions are eased next year, all winners will be invited to Dalemain’s Marmalade Festival in June to receive their award.

Will you enter?

We honestly cannot think of anything more joyous and uplifting than an international marmalade competition - all of those glass jam jars filled with glistening sweet treats is enough to make anyone smile. And a friendly bit of competition, along with the chance to receive recognition for your talents and achievements, is something to look forward to and enjoy in these complicated times. We encourage all our friends and customers to get stuck in and have a go at making marmalade - you never know, it might just win you an award! If you do enter, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.