As It Happens

This 9-year-old beat thousands of competitors with her homemade marmalade

More than 3,000 people from all over the world competed for the title of Best in Show at the annual Homemade Marmalade Awards — but nine-year-old Flora Rider defeated them all.

Flora Rider is the youngest person ever to win Best in Show at the Homemade Marmalade Awards

Flora Rider, 9, holds up a jar of her marmalade, which won Best in Show at the 2021 Homemade Marmalade Awards. (Hermione McCosh)

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More than 3,000 people from all over the world competed for the title of Best in Show at the annual Homemade Marmalade Awards — but nine-year-old Flora Rider defeated them all.

The judges were unanimous in their decision to award Rider the prestigious prize for her Seville orange and orange blossom marmalade. 

Flora, who lives on the Isle of Wight in England, is the youngest champion in the competition's history.

"It's so amazing," Flora told As It Happens host Carol Off. "I'm over the moon.

The Homemade Marmalade Awards is open to amateur and professional marmalade makers alike, and draws competitors from more than 30 countries, including Japan, Kuwait, Brazil and Canada. 

It's usually held in Dalemain, England, as part of a the Marmalade Festival. But this year, because of coronavirus restrictions, the marmalade-makers mailed in their tangy samples.

The judges were blown away by Flora's entry, which just happened to be her first batch of marmalade ever. 

"We have never had a child winning before, which is very good news for marmalade," Jane Hasell-McCosh, the award's founder, said in an email. 

Jars of Flora's marmalade are now for sale at department stores, and they feature the young winner's name on the label. (Hermione McCosh)

Flora says she decided to make marmalade because she was bored during lockdown and had nothing to do. She says she enjoyed getting lost in the process of chopping up the orange peels into tiny, delicate slices. 

But the secret ingredient to her award-winning batch, she says, was orange blossom water.

"I quite like the flavour of orange blossom because it's quite a bitter and sort of sweet flavour," she said.

She says she plans to try her hand at elderflower marmalade next. 

Her mother Zoe Rider says Flora did it all on her own. 

"I did say to Flora, 'Are you OK there? Do you want some help?' She insisted on doing it all herself," Zoe said. "We're really, really surprised, and really, really happy for Flora."

Flora got a silver spoon to commemorate her win. And her recipe will be reproduced and sold at Fortnum & Mason's department stores in London and Hong Kong, as well as online. About 85 cents from every jar will go to the U.K. charity Hospice at Home.

This year's competition also saw a Canadian victor, with Toronto's David Myles winning the International category. 

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview with Zoe and Flora Rider produced by John McGill. 


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