In May 2018 I had the pleasure of meeting and teaching Lis Walker who has an Artisan Preserves business in Norfolk. Lis has kindly offered to share her thoughts on her experience of learning the best way to make real preserves that keep her customers coming back for more.
“In 2016 I created a small business making and selling jam and chutney. Prior to starting my business I made marmalade once. A few summers back we had a cocktail party and had lots of leftover citrus. I didn’t want to waste it so I thought I’d make marmalade. I found a Dark Citrus Marmalade recipe which sounded interesting and had the potential to be a taste I would enjoy. Once the fruit was cooked and sugar added the instruction was to boil for 2 to 3 hours until the marmalade became dark, thick, and gloopy. To my palate the finished product had a tangy, and seemingly burnt flavour. Based on this, my only experience of making marmalade, I believed it was too time consuming, complicated, and importantly an unpleasant flavour.
As time went on customers began to ask me for marmalade, so not wishing to miss a sale I thought I’d look further afield and find some different recipes, and make marmalade. After all how hard could it be? I made Lime, Pink Grapefruit and Lemon marmalades with varying degrees of success. Mostly I was unsuccessful and struggled to achieve a lovely wobbly jelly like set for my jars. I wasted so much fruit, sugar and of course money!
After about six months of really struggling with it, I thought there must be a better way to make marmalade and there must be someone who can show me that way! I searched online, found Vivien and booked two days, one to one tuition in May 2018.
As a tutor I found Vivien logical in her instruction, methodical in its application and patient with a student who initially lacked confidence in tackling the mysterious art of making marmalade. We focussed on marmalade whilst I was in the kitchen with Vivien, with a bit of jam and jelly making too.
As a small business the skills I learnt have been invaluable, in turning my good products into what I believe are great products. The quality of my jars, is now, far more refined than before my time with Vivien, and I regularly receive positive comments from customers about the quality of the jars I sell.
This March with just six months experience of proper marmalade making, I won 5 silver medals and 1 bronze medal in the World Marmalade Awards. More success followed with two star awards from the Great Taste Awards for my Rhubarb and Ginger Jam and Seville Orange Marmalade. Both of these were made from recipes in Vivien’s book, First Preserves. I can only attribute my success in competitions to the tuition I received whilst I was with Vivien.
My time with Vivien has probably been one of the best investments since starting my business.
Don’t delay, book today!”