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Wanted: Best Marmalade in Britain

Wanted: Best Marmalade in Britain

A quirky British festival celebrating the glories of good marmalade will be marking its 10th anniversary year this year - and the country's hotel, B&Bs and restaurant owners are being urged to jar up their marmalade to take part.

The World’s Original Marmalade Awards and Festival will be taking place on 28th February and 1st March 2015; entries to the event’s B&B/hotel competition are now being sought. Open to any hospitality establishment that serves its own kitchen-made marmalade to guests, the competition attracts entries from all over the world. Past winners have included B&Bs in Somerset, Kinross, Cumbria, Suffolk, Wiltshire and Yorkshire.

As part of the Festival’s 10th anniversary year celebrations, organisers will be creating an online ‘Where to Stay/Eat? Marmalade Map’ so that potential marmalade-inclined guests can find out where these businesses are based.

Since the Awards and Festival were first held in 2005, entries have risen sharply, with over 2000 received from over 30 countries across the globe for the 2014 Festival, including scores of jars from B&Bs and hotels.

Event founder Jane Hasell-McCosh said: “Staying somewhere and being given really lovely marmalade is an experience that is both memorable but also, sadly, quite rare. My campaign is to find those really good places to stay where all the breakfast ingredients, including good marmalade, are top quality. After all, it has been part of our cultural food heritage for hundreds of years and should not be undervalued or overlooked.”

Previous winners of the B&B/Hotel competition have already seen the business benefits of scooping a marmalade award. Sara Thomas, last year’s Double Gold & Gold Winner from Woodford House Bed & Breakfast in Taunton, said: “Winning Gold and Double Gold in The World’s Original Marmalade Awards has been a real boost to the marmalade that I serve to my guests. Sales of marmalade have definitely increased and I love the comments my guests write about my marmalade!”

The 10th anniversary year celebrations will also extend to the Marmalade Awards & Festival event itself, held at Dalemain Mansion, near Penrith in the Lake District. Visitors will have the chance to view the entries, taste over 500 marmalades, attend workshops, lectures and tutored marmalade and wine tastings. Plans are afoot for a marmalade run, a marmalade church service and - the most famous marmalade lover of them all - Paddington Bear presiding over the 10th anniversary year Magnificent Marmalade Tea Party.

The event will be kicking off National Marmalade Week (28th February-7th March 2015), with a ‘Marmalade Peel of Bells’ that will resound around the country starting with hand bells at Dalemain and ending with the Great Bell of Bow, of Oranges & Lemons nursery rhyme fame.

Far from this being purely an eccentric passion of a marmalade devotee, these Marmalade awards have raised over £150,000 during the last 10 years for Hospice at Home and palliative care around the world, Action Medical Research for children and Marie Curie in Scotland.

Closing date for entries is 15th February 2015. Entry details, including an entry form, category criteria, submission details and entry fees can be found at www.marmaladeawards.com

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