A keen Shaftesbury cook has retained his crown as the town’s Best Marmalade Maker. Two professional chefs declared Andy Hollingshead’s preserve the tastiest in Shaftesbury Arts Centre’s second Marmafest event.
Saturday morning’s marmalade breakfast started quietly. Organiser Rosie King says that more publicity might be required next time, but she was content with the level of interest in this second annual contest among marmalade-makers. “We’ve had a very good response – 41 entries and quite a good variety. We didn’t have quite as many entries as last year, so next year, perhaps we have to make the entries different in some way or the conditions different.”
The thick- and thin-cut orange categories brought the greatest number of entries. “The ones with alcohol have also been popular and they have been popular to taste,” said Rosie, pointing to the open jars and spoons which lined the Arts Centre foyer.
The contest’s open category allowed entrants to add whatever ingredient they wished. Bacon and kumquats raised some eyebrows last time. In contrast, there was just one unusual taste this year. “It was onion. It did quite well. There was no orange in it. It was really a savoury spread – an onion marmalade,” said Rosie.
Andy Hollingshead took the first prize again. “So, come on ladies! Do your bit next year,” urged Rosie. “He has won three categories. The overall category, the lemon and the thin-cut orange.” Rosie says that the judges loved Andy’s lemon marmalade. “The flavour was really lemony,” she said.
Patricia Seymour-Cook claimed the best thin-cut and best grapefruit titles. Sandy Roberts’ entry was the winner in the ‘own choice’ group and Rosie herself won the ‘any flavour with alcohol’ award. “We’ll just gloss over that one,” smiled Rosie.
All of the marmalades were tasted and scored on Friday by chefs David Griffin Shepherd of Shaftesbury’s La Fleur De Lys restaurant and Mark Hartstone from Cranbourne’s La Fosse. “They started at 11am and didn’t finish until 2pm, so they were ‘marmaladed out’ by the end of the morning. When I offered them cake, they both shuddered,” laughed Rosie.
As the overall winner, Andy can claim the star prize – an evening dinner for two at La Fosse.