February Fun at Fort York’s Mad for Marmalade Event

| Written on January 31, 2017

It will be a very fun February at Fort York and it begins with the 10th annual Mad for Marmalade, Crazy for Citrus event on Saturday, February 18! For the past decade, the Fort York National Historic Site has partnered with the Culinary Historians of Canada for a celebration of all things citrus, and the results have been incredibly delicious! This very popular event in our area returns this year with workshops, tastings, guest speakers, a competition and a marketplace, all of which highlight the versatility and yumminess of citrus! Villagers, orange you glad to have all this citrusy goodness taking place right at our doorstep? Silly puns aside, there are lots of reasons to add the upcoming Mad for Marmalade event to your “must-attend” list. Keep reading, we’ve listed them all below.

The 10th Mad for Marmalade event is also slated to be the last so if you haven’t attended in previous years or, if you have fond memories of past years and have been planning to return in the future, definitely make room in your calendar for this year’s event! You’ll need to block off time from 8:30am to 4:00pm if you’d like to enjoy the day’s full roster of activities.

Over the years, Mad for Marmalade has introduced participants to ways to incorporate citrus through different cuisines and in a variety of ways. Past events have focused on Italian, British, Persian and Moroccan styles of cooking. This year, Mad for Marmalade brings it all together with a celebration of various culinary styles, cultures and flavour profiles. Here are all the delicious workshops happening at this year’s Mad for Marmalade.

Photo from Essex Eating

Photo from Essex Eating

Pudding… Pond… Sussex: This workshop focuses on the traditional (and oh, so delectable) British Sussex Pond Pudding. The citrus ingredient that forms the basis of this rich dessert is the lemon, which, along with butter, sugar and suet pastry, will make this a treat for all the senses. The Pudding…Pond…Sussex Workshop will be led by Rosemary Kovac. Rosemary has years of experience working with historical recipes and in historical kitchens, including at the Spadina Museum, Historic House and Gardens, Toronto Historic Sites and Fort York National Historic Site.


Orange Biscuits: This workshop will include a very memorable history lesson. Biscuits, as we know them, are quite different than the biscuits of yesteryear. This will be a hands-on workshop that compares 2 different styles of biscuits— one recipe will come from the 1740 cookbook, Whole Duty of a Woman, and the second will follow Robert Abbot’s, The Housekeepers Valuable Present from 1790. The end results will be incredibly delicious! This workshop will be led by Fort York’s National Historic Site’s very own, Mya Sangster who is a volunteer historic cook.

Marmalade - Photo IV from Pexels

Orange Marmalade Mazurki: Orange marmalade mazurki is a sweet, flat cake that originates in Poland and is usually made during Eastertime. In some places, it is also made at Christmastime and during the holiday season. It includes a delicious combination of ginger and orange which adds to its chewy, dense and, have we mentioned, delicious texture? Participants will be guided through this workshop by cookbook author, marmalade guru and Fort York National Historic Site volunteer historic cook, Elizabeth Baird.

Marmalade - Photo from HuffingtonPost

Yesterday’s Candied Peel for the Modern Cook: Don’t be deceived by the name of this workshop. The final products will be fresh and bursting with citrusy flavour! Decades ago, lemons and seasonal oranges weren’t as readily available year ‘round as they are today. Back then, these items would often be shipped to different regions of our province so that they could be preserved and used to make marmalades and candied peel, as well as cakes, puddings and other delicious dishes. Times have changed and now these fruits are available throughout the year, so why not learn how to incorporate them in dishes that can be enjoyed right through the year? This workshop will teach you the ins and outs of making the perfect candied peel. There’ll be lots of samples included to try and you’ll be able to take home several great recipes so that you can replicate or try new candied peel recipes for your friends and family to enjoy. The Candied Peel workshop will led by author, cooking teacher, caterer and volunteer historic cook at Fort York National Historic Site, Jan Main.

Marmalade - Photo III from Pexels

Delicious Uses For Marmalade That Will Never Win A Prize: You had us at “delicious!” We’ve all had kitchen mishaps, some certainly worse than others. This workshop will focus on turning those not so great citrusy recipes into something that you, and everyone around you will love. Participants will prepare (and enjoy) a Marmalade pudding and learn how to correct recipes for muffins, savoury sauces and desserts. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to learn about the delicious ways to recreate failed recipes from Brenda Dalglish, a lively and engaging former business journalist and volunteer historic cook at Fort York National Historic Site.


Marmalade Goes Savoury: We aren’t all at the mercy of our sweet tooth; some of us prefer things to be more on the savoury side. If you fall in the latter category, this workshop is for you. Slow-cooked onions and lemon marmalade come together to create a tangy condiment that will keep you coming back for more. Just a spoonful with elevate your meat, poultry and fish dishes as well as your toast, entrees and hors d’oeuvres. We think this marmalade workshop may even convert lovers of sweet foods to come over to the savoury side. This savoury workshop will be run by Jennifer MacKenzie, a food writer, cookbook editor, cookbook author and media spokesperson. Participants will be in very good and very experienced hands.

Marmalade - Photo II from Pexels

Demoing: Bahamian Chicken Souse: This workshop is going to take you to the islands. Bahamian chicken souse is a soup with a flavourful chill-lime base. One spoonful is just about all that you’ll need to be singing reggae songs and feeling like you’re lying on a beach. This soup is known in the Caribbean for having medicinal properties and for helping people to recover quickly from those pesky everyday ailments. Who better to lead this workshop than Bahamian-born chef, Raquel Fox. She is a graduate of the George Brown College Culinary Arts Program and is a cooking instructor as well as an expert in Caribbean cooking. If you want to learn how to make something deliciously different, this is the workshop to attend.

Brevas en Almibar: From the Caribbean to Columbia. This workshop will focus on a Columbian favourite, brevas en almibar, which translates to figs in syrup. There will be a few surprises though. This dish will be created in a traditional way but before serving, a few new touches will be added, like cheese and other toppings. It will be a delectable twist on a Columbian staple. This workshop will be led by Mary Luz Mejia, a Colombian-Canadian journalist, food TV producer, food content marketer, food magazine contributor and Toronto Start columnist. You can look forward to creating something delicious under Mary’s direction.


There will be so much to learn and even more to enjoy at this year’s Mad for Marmalade event. There’ll be a range of flavour profiles, cooking styles and cuisines from different cultures. It really will be a celebration of citrus-infused foods. The 10th and final Mad for Marmalade event is one that you shouldn’t miss.

For participants who want a challenge, the Mad for Marmalade event will also include a competition with 4 delicious categories: Pure Seville Orange Marmalade, Citrus Marmalade, Preserves with Citrus and Baking with Marmalade. There’s a $5 registration fee and participants can register in a maximum of 2 categories. Items submitted for the first 3 categories of the competition must have been made with the last 12 months and must be submitted in clear, glass jars without labels. Baking entries must be accompanied by the recipe. Win the honour of your marmalade or baked item being deemed the best there is by a panel of culinary experts! For the complete list of competition rules, head over to the competition entry page.

There are lots of reasons to attend this year’s Mad for Marmalade event, and all of them are delicious! Learn from chefs, exchange cooking tips with like-minded attendees, shop for great, citrusy products in the marketplace and sample lots of incredible dishes. Yum, please! Preregistration is required for Mad for Marmalade so if you are planning to attend, you can call to register at 416-392-7484. Early bird tickets are available until February 6 and are $65 + tax. Tickets are $75 + tax after February 6. For additional information, visit the Culinary Historians Mad for Marmalade webpage. Experience the delicious world of citrus at this year’s Mad for Marmalade event at Fort York! You’ll be happy you did!


Written by L. D. Moore