Marmalade’s had a rough old time of it lately. A recent report in the Telegraph declared it is dying out; that only oldies are buying it because millennials can’t handle ‘bits’ in spreads. Well, excuse me, but I direct you to this year’s World Marmalade Awards, held a few weeks ago in a big Georgian house called Dalemain just outside Penrith, which attracted nearly 2,000 homemade jars from around the globe. Big jars, little jars, jars decorated with glitter, sticky jars that had leaked in the post, jars with gingham hats. All laid out on trestle tables with individual, handwritten tasting notes from the WI judges underneath, marking each jar out of 20.
The two-day festival has been running for 12 years, launched by the matriarch of the house, Jane Hasell-McCosh, who grew up watching her grandmother make marmalade, standing on tiptoes to look into cauldrons of the stuff on the Aga.