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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The World’s Original Marmalade Awards and Festival

Sadly I don’t get to shop in London’s Fortnum and Mason that often but when I do I get a certain kick out of seeing Cumbrian food on the shelves of this famous Piccadilly store. Two things in the past few years have tickled me even more. One was seeing the work here of Cumbrian ceramicist Paul Scott in An Exhibition of British Craft in 2010; the other was spotting a wonderful show of marmalades, made by Cumbrian producer Wild and Fruitful. The prominent display was down to its double gold success at the World's Original Marmalade Awards and Festival which had been held only a few days before at Dalemain historic home near Ullswater in the Lake District. And now is the time of the year when entries are again being sought, the 14 categories this year including ones for hairdressers and ‘world marmalade’. Valentine’s Day is the deadline for entries. Whether or not you like marmalade, you can see how this event captures the imagination. Newspapers love it - expect to read plenty of column inches before the big weekend in March (19 and 20), Dalemain and Ullswater get a boost in visitor numbers at a quieter time of the year and double gold award winners see their marmalade sold at Fortnum’s (a major sponsor) for the whole of the following year. Charity benefits as well, with more than £200,000 going to hospice work in Cumbria and much further afield over the last 12 years. So let’s hear it for the orange, lemon and lime, for marmalade, Dalemain and marmalade makers. It wouldn’t be March without them.

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