Close to Ullswater, set back from the lake shore, Dalemain Mansion is a beautiful country house in the Lake District. Its stately rooms are full of family heirlooms, ancient objects, portraits and…marmalade. Every year the house hosts the World’s Original Marmalade Awards, an event which for a few weeks in March sees jar upon jar of marmalade sent from around the world to compete in the friendly, yet fiercely competitive taste-off.

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This year eviivo were the proud sponsors of the Hotel, B&B and Restaurant category. When so many of our customers take such pride in serving their guests the perfect breakfast every morning, and when that breakfast often includes a homemade marmalade, a partnership made perfect sense.

And so it was that I was at the awards ceremony on the 17th March this year. In the company of the Japanese ambassador to the UK, Mr Koji Tsuruoka and baking legend Dan Lepard, I was pleased to present the winners with their certificates. Among them was the winner of the eviivo award for best marmalade to go with a cooked breakfast, won by Café Alf Resco in Darmouth.

The next day, many of the marmalades were available to taste. I got stuck in, and the ‘Dark and Stormy’ eviivo winner was superb. I also tasted some other excellent examples, including a blood orange and espresso combination and a taste-tastic organic Seville orange, kumquat and chilli offering. I wasn’t tempted to bid in the auction for the world’s spiciest marmalade, however, which in addition to the traditional Seville’s featured Bird’s Eye, Scotch Bonnet and Carolina Reaper chillies!

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Since 2005, over £200,000 has been raised for local charities from the awards and the associated Marmalade Festival. The festival takes place in nearby Penrith and the town centre goes orange for the weekend. The station has signs welcoming visitors to the MarmaLake District, shop windows are full of orange goods and there are stalls selling crafts, local food and drink and, of course, marmalade.

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Congratulations to all the winners!