Bouldercombe’s Ailsa Rowley with her cumquat marmalade that won first prize in Australia and second in England.
Bouldercombe’s Ailsa Rowley with her cumquat marmalade that won first prize in Australia and second in England. Chris Ison

Ailsa's sweet taste of success

AS Bouldercombe's Ailsa Rowley pulled two of her cumquat marmalade jams from the bottom kitchen drawer and express-posted them to Buningyong, Victoria, she thought that would be the end of the story.

But weeks later those two bottles of jam had not only been awarded first prize in the National Australian Marmalade Ashes "MarmalAshes" competition, but were also chosen to go up against England for an international title.

The retiree has been making home-made jams for years, following her mother's recipe and is well known by family and friends for her relish and jam-making skills.

"I've entered them in the Mt Morgan show before and got a couple of first prizes but never anything like this," Ailsa said.

"My daughter heard it on the radio and thought it would be a good idea and she got all the paperwork for me, so I said yes.

"I thought that would be the last I heard of it but they sent me an email saying that I'd won first prize in Australia and that it would go on to be judged in England as part of the Australia XI team."

Ailsa said she was thrilled at the news, but was not expecting what happened next.

"There was 11 of us and then I found out I'd come second in the cumquat section," Ailsa recalled.

The Australian team won the "MarmalAshes", with England scoring 131 points and Australia getting 189.

The competition held during February saw 95 jam entries from all over the country.

"I see it as a team effort because everyone who judged it got it through," she said.


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