Blake Hill Specialty Preserves Wins Big at World Marmalade AwardsAug 27, 2021 01:53PM ● By Rosa Simone McCann
Photo from Blake Hill Preserves Facebook Page.
High up on the list of awards you never knew existed, the World Artisan Marmalade Awards operate yearly from the Dalemain mansion in England’s Lake District. The competition started small in 2005, but now it receives more than 3,000 entries from over 30 countries each year, as marmalade makers from all over the world mail in jars of their finest preserves for testing.
During the testing, marmalade experts judge the submissions blindly and select only the best in each category for special distinction. It may surprise residents of the Upper Valley to learn that the 2021 double gold winners of the World Marmalade Awards make their home in Windsor, Vermont.
Vicky Allard founded Blake Hill Preserves in 2009, when she and her husband, Joe Hanglin, sold their first jar of blackberry jam at the Grafton Village Store. Now, Allard can boast of seven gold medals at the World Marmalade Awards, as well as two silver and a bronze won this year alone. All these victories earn Allard the title of the US’s leading artisan marmalade maker.
Marmalade means a lot to Allard, who grew up in England, where marmalade on toast constituted a breakfast staple. Blake Hill’s Seville Orange Marmalade took gold this year, a particularly important win, as Allard’s childhood memories of this quintessential marmalade served as the inspiration for the business.
But how does Blake Hill Preserves take home so many awards year after year? Allard herself describes her approach to marmalade making as “a little obsessive.” She and her team select only the highest quality fruit for their spreads and slice their citrus rinds by hand. Allard has also honed her cooking process to a fine art in order to capture the flavors of her lemons and oranges. Her jams represent “a unique blend of preserve-making traditions” from across the globe, the result of Allard and her husband’s travels through the Middle East, Asia, and South America. Blake Hill produces over 60 flavors of preserves and condiments, appropriate for both sweet and savory dishes. But her four competition winners – Seville Orange Marmalade, Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Seville Marmalade with 10-year Single Malt Whisky, and Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Jasmine and Honey – stand out as must-tries.
Despite its resounding success in international marmalade competition, Blake Hill Preserves remains committed to serving its immediate community. Allard and her team are dedicated to the promotion of local businesses and support community organizations in order to fight hunger in Windsor and the surrounding area. Even if they’re not marmalade aficionados, Vermont residents can feel proud of this business and its accomplishments on the global stage.