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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbria's marmalade and jam producers shine at Great Taste Awards

The cream of Cumbria’s food and drink businesses have scooped 46 food ‘Oscars’ in the Great Taste Awards.

Claire Kent photo
Claire Kent, of Claire's Handmade Ltd in Wigton

Hailed as the Academy Awards of the food world, the international competition is seen as a benchmark for quality food and drink.

Over three months, 400 experts judged 10,000 products from around the world and this year, a third of all entries picked up an award.

Nine products from Cumbria were given two gold stars, including Jane’s Marmalade, from the Dalemain Marmalade Collection near Penrith.

Producer Jane Hasell-McCosh has hosted The World’s Original Marmalade Awards at Dalemain for the past nine years, drawing visitors from all over the world. This year she decided to have her own marmalade judged and entered it into the Great Taste Awards, organised by The Guild of Fine Food,

She said: “I am especially thrilled that Jane’s Marmalade picked up two gold stars and the fact that the judges described it as ‘delicious.’

“It is a recipe that I have perfected over the years – I started making it with my mother when I was four. It is handmade in small batches using an open pan.”

Two stars also went to the classic sourdough croissant from More? The Artisan Bakery owned by Patrick Moore in Staveley near Kendal.

Patrick was also among the judges. It’s the third time he’s helped with the robust and vigorous judging process – something that blew him away after receiving three stars and a supreme champion title in the past.

“After becoming a judge it makes you think, ‘how did we ever achieve three stars’. It’s a huge deal and a huge accolade to the producers. It’s invaluable.

“When we won supreme champion it really did change our lives. It gave us a massive leg-up and a huge overnight change in the business.

“If you look at it as a benchmarking tool, it’s like having your own tasting panel of experts. Regardless of winning, you’re never going to get that type of feedback.”

A further 37 products from the county were awarded with gold stars.

Taste Cumbria project manager, Mary Houston, believes the county’s success at the awards will ensure growth in the food and drink sector, thus helping establish Cumbria as “a must-go foodie destination in the UK.”

She said: ‘’The fact that so many Cumbrian food products have been recognised in the Great Taste Awards is a significant achievement for county producers.”

Among the Cumbrian winners are Silver and Green of Penrith, Bells of Lazonby and Burbush’s of Penrith, Mr Vikki’s of High Hesket, Claire’s Handmade in Wigton, County Fare in Kirkby Stephen and the Hawkshead Relish Company in south Cumbria. Cranstons, The Sweetmeat Company and Country Puddings of Penrith are also winners.

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