Mad for Marmalade

Mad for Marmalade tables

Every February for the past 8 years, there is a magical event that takes place at Fort York. I discovered it 3 years ago and have made it a must go to event ever since.

You walk into the barracks at Fort York and are instantly awed at the beauty of your surroundings. Not only is Fort York an amazing space for an event, but the volunteers pull together an extremely well organized day filled with great workshops, interesting speakers, tonnes of great door prizes and of course, the marmalade competition.

Fort York

It will come as no surprise that the marmalade competition was what drew me to this event initially and it was the first event I ever entered. I was thrilled to walk away with two 2nd place ribbons

Last year I gave one of the workshops and this year I was chosen to be one of the judges for the competition. My partner in judging the Citrus Preserves category was a Tom Boyd. Tom is an avid preserver and has won numerous ribbons at The Royal Winter Fair, his most recent being 1st place for his Pear Ginger Lime Marmalade. 

Tom Boyd

We had the extremely difficult job of trying at least 8 different preserves made with citrus. Marmalade with Whisky, Pink Grapefruit marmalade with tastebuds were in heaven.

marmalade competition
marmalade and whiskey winner
marmalade entries

But my knees went weak when we had to judge best in show and we got to taste the Baking with Marmalade category. This pie had a crust that has been imprinted on my tastebuds for eternity.

baking with marmalade

Congratulations to all the marmalade winners, thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers who pull this event together. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of such a great citrus-y day and highly recommend you marking it in your calendar for next February.

6th Annual Mad for Marmalade, Crazy for Citrus

I have never been a very lucky person. In fact, I think the last time I won anything (other than a Free Donut) would have been back in Grade 3 or 4. Our school participated in the MS Readathon and I won 2 tickets to see The Edmonton Oilers. To this day, I remember the thrill of winning. How my heart picked up speed and I felt my face redden as I walked to the front of the library to receive my prize.

All of this came flashing back to me when I heard the words ‘Christine Manning’ announced as the 2nd place winner (two times) this weekend at the 6th annual Mad for Marmalade held at Fort York. I had decided when I heard about the marmalade competition that I was going to enter. It would be the first time I entered a preserving competition and as silly as it may sound, I was rather nervous. I entered my marmalades in 2 different categories; Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade and Citrus Combo, where I decided to enter a relatively new recipe that I had adapted - lime cilantro marmalade.

Photo courtesy of: Sarah B Hood

I initially found out about Mad for Marmalade, Crazy for Citrus from Sarah B. Hood’s blog. Her preserving cookbook 'We Sure Can' has gotten a LOT of use in my house, so I was excited to see that she would be leading a workshop and sharing some of her tips for how to make Blue Ribbon Marmalades. Sign me up!

The morning was spent with Sarah in her workshop which was situated in one of the barrack’s at Fort York which was a surprisingly cozy and comfortable space. She shared some tips that I frantically wrote down for future reference and we all shared a jar of her fabulous Orange Marmalade and her Grapefruit Marmalade. It was an informative and enjoyable session and I was happy to have been a part of it.

Then we returned for a great demo by Chef Emily Richards. She created a couple of dishes for us using Citrus juices that filled the hall up with amazing scents and got everyone’s stomach grumbling. After a delicious lunch, it was time for the competition announcements. They started with the 3rd place winners in each category and when I didn’t hear my name mentioned there I almost stopped paying attention. Thankfully, I didn’t because both of my entries received a 2nd place prize and I took home two fabulous Emile Henry Salt Pigs.

Photo courtesy of: Sarah B Hood

I learned something about myself on this day. I may have aged a lot since grade 4, but one thing has not changed – I still felt my heart pick up speed and I am certain I felt my face turn red as I walked up to get my awards.

Then, when I thought the day couldn’t possibly get any better, I ended up winning the door prize which was a fabulous, sexy Cuisinart. It was definitely my day ;).