The Battle of the MarmalAshes and a Hearty Hot Chocolate and Marmalade Fondant

“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”

D H Lawrence

The quote above comes from the racy author, D H Lawrence, he of Lady Chatterley fame. I simply can’t imagine him doing anything quite so homely as making marmalade, but it takes all sorts!

This weekend (18-19 March, 2017) sees the World Marmalade Awards,  held in Penrith in the Lake District.

The ‘main event’, as it were, is held on the first day. But by far the most interesting event, the MarmalAshes, is held on the second day. This hotly contested event rivals its inspiration – the annual cricket match between England and Australia – for action and excitement.

The Australian team is composed of ‘anyone with an Australian address and the will to beat the Poms at something they claim to have invented!’.

The MarmalAshes competition originated because, as it’s described on the MarmalAshes website:

“In 2011, Australia’s disastrous Ashes loss to England, combined with the need to find an independent adjudicator in the important area of marmalade pride, led to the incarnation of the MarmalAshes trophy in the small Victorian gold-rush village of Buninyong in western Victoria, Australia.

Rather than sit around and mope for the two years to the next Test series, Buninyong decided to challenge England to something else they claim to have invented – marmalade.”

The whole event may become a thing of the past in the light of distressing figures regarding the sales of marmalade in the UK – 60% of marmalade sales in the UK go to people aged over 65 and only 1% to people under 28.

We at Saucy Dressings are doing our bit to preserve this preserve by posting a recipe which uses the bitter, citrusy jam. Readers of this blog are unlikely to have time to make their own marmalade – if you do want to know how to do this, Jenny Chandler’s blog is the place to go.

how to make marmalade
The best marmalade is homemade by a pal.

But I love marmalade for breakfast, and I also find it an invaluable ingredient in cooking. In the following recipe it goes into a rich pud.

Recipe for hot chocolate and marmalade fondant

Serves 6-8


  • 150g/5 oz butter
  • 250g/9 oz plain chocolate – 80% pus
  • 5 tbsp marmalade
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 150g/5 oz soft brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 40g/5 tbsps/⅓ cup plain flour
  • 40g/5 tbsps/⅓ cup corn flour
  • Crème fraîche or ordinary cream, to serve
  • Orange zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a pretty ovenproof serving dish (6 cm deep, 24cm diameter)
  3. Break up the chocolate and melt it in a bain marie with the butter. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool a little.
  4. Meanwhile beat the sugar and eggs with an electric whisk until it’s about double the volume.
  5. Mix in the marmalade and the Grand Marnier with the cooled chocolate.
  6. Sift the flours into the sugar and eggs, and then fold in the chocolate mixture
  7. Pour into the serving dish, or into individual ramekins, and bake 20 minutes – WATCH IT LIKE A HAWK – take it out when it still has a slightly wobbly middle. If it really looks too liquid put it back in the oven for another five minutes.
  8. Leave to cool a little and serve topped with crème fraîche and orange zest (or alternatively, serve this on the side.

Other posts you might find interesting

The best marmalade (aside from homemade by friends) to buy is Improper Marmalade – for more on that follow this link.

Other recipes using marmalade:

For a plain chocolate fondant recipe follow this link.

You might also enjoy this article in The Financial Times.

Or this one on Sophie Money-Coutts’ Substack.

This post is dedicated to Susie Evetts, with thanks for the marmalade.

Music to cook to

Macavity is a marmalade cat in the famous musical Cats:

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