Olga Barber wins Best in Show at WI Real Jam Competition 2013

Olga Barber was announced the overall winner in the WI Real Jam Competition this weekend (7 and 8 December), after being awarded the prestigious Best in Show title for her entry in the soft fruit jam class.

Over 330 jars of jams, jellies and chutneys were entered into the competition and the standard was incredibly high, which makes the final result even more impressive.

The competition was divided into 12 categories, all calling for different jam, jelly and chutney variations designed to give everyone the opportunity to enter, including a category solely for men and one just for children. The other categories ranged from family favourites such as a jar of strawberry jam to more unusual or challenging standards, such as a hot and spicy jam or jelly, or a boozy jam or jelly. There was also a co-operative class exclusively for WI members where entrants presented three jars of preserves suitable for a Christmas gift in an open-topped box or basket, with extra marks awarded for presentation.

Olga was awarded the Best in Show after three days of judging at Denman, the WI's residential educational college, in March, Oxfordshire, and judges were very impressed with the combination of flavours.  She takes home the top prize of £1000 of British cooking brand Stoves vouchers, donated by the WI Cookery School sponsors, a two-night residential course at Denman, and the WI Real Jam Festival trophy.  Denver Hewlett, Chief Executive at Stoves, was present to hand over the top accolade.

The competition, now in its fourth year of running, welcomed hundreds of visitors over the two days, where they enjoyed a wide variety of entertainment and great cookery demonstrations from BBC Great British Bake Off winners John Whaite and Edd Kimber, ITV's Food Glorious Food Stacie Stewart, and chefs Alex Mackay and Jo Pratt.  Tours of Denman were on offer throughout both days along with interactive craft demonstrations, and indoor Christmas market.

Anne Harrison, Chair of the Denman Committee, said:

"Congratulations to Olga for this impressive achievement. The WI Real Jam Festival is a highlight in the jam making calendar for WI members and non-members alike, and it provides a unique opportunity for jam makers of all abilities to try their luck against some of the best produce in the country. 

"There has been something for everyone throughout the two days from the Christmas market to the expert cooking demonstrations, along with tours of the college and afternoon tea.  It is a wonderful opportunity to soak up the seasonal atmosphere in the beautiful surroundings of Denman, and celebrate one of the skills for which the WI is renowned:  jam making!" 

The full list of winners is as follows:

Class One: Srawberry Jam - Kathy Roberts, Llanddoged WI, Clwyd-Denbigh

Class Two: Soft Fruit Jam – Olga Barber – Mortimer 2012 WI, Berkshire

Class Three – Stone Fruit Jam – Christine Damerum – Adlington WI, Cheshire

Class Four – Man-made Jam – James Macduff – Non-Member

Class Five – A Jar of Jelly – Sue Paisey – Weston Zoyland WI, Somerset

Class Six – A Jam with a Difference – Gwen Harris – Freshwater Central WI, I.O.W.

Class Seven – Children's Jam or Jelly – Matthew Foster – Non-Member

Class Eight – The WI Co-operative Class – Freshwater Central WI, I.O.W

Class Nine – Hot and Spicy Jam or Jelly – Marjorie Paulson – WI Associate, Shropshire

Class Ten – WI Set Recipe – Carmen Guard – Bloxham WI, Oxfordshire

Class Eleven – Boozy Jam or Jelly – Marisa Goodenough – Non-Member

Class Twelve – Christmas Chutney – Margaret Duggan – Anston WI, Nottinghamshire 

All class winners took home the following prizes:

  • A hamper of glassware from Quick Jars
  • Cooking thermometer courtesy of Thermapen
  • Christmas selection of WI Foods from Denman
Additional information on the classes can be found here: