Marmalade made with edible gold comes at a price ­ £11 a mouthful

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The Independent Online

As heir to a family-run jam firm, Richard Duerr knows his preserves - and is part-icular about how the world's most expensive marmalade should be served.

"There are two simple rules ­ an even spread of butter, not margarine, and white toast instead of brown. Brown is somehow wrong ­ it's too healthy," he said at a sampling in the breakfast room of Brown's hotel in Mayfair yesterday.

Duerr's, a family-run Manchester firm which also produces preserves and condiments ranging from peanut butter to mincemeat and horseradish, has broken its budget to make this superlative version of its signature spread ­ marmalade ­ to mark its 125th anniversary.

The commemorative marmalade costs £5,000 for a 1kg jar. According to the makers, that is the equivalent of £11 per mouthful and £76 per slice of toast ­ significantly beyond the reach of marmalade's most famous fan, Paddington Bear. The company has produced a small number of miniature jars for publicity purposes, but its pièce de résistance is the commemorative 1kg jar on display yesterday.

The £1,100 hand-crafted crystal jar contains £3,450 worth of 62-year-old Dalmore whisky, £348 worth of vintage Pol Roger champagne, and £120 of edible gold which gives the marmalade a glint when it catches a ray of sunlight.

So does it justify the price tag? At the tasting, The Independent found the marmalade , made with finely cut Seville oranges, to be more tangy than usual and distinctly boozier.

"Thanks to some exclusive ingredients and a priceless one-off designer jar, we believe we have created the world's most expensive jar of marmalade," said Mr Duerr, who is director of sales and marketing.

The makers had the tricky task of ensuring the expensive alcohol did not evaporate during the cooking process, that the gold leaf did not become lumpy, and that great care was taken to cool the mixture, as it could have cracked the jar.

The jar will be auctioned on the internet for the Manchester Kids charity.

Marmalade first appeared on breakfast tables in Britain in 1495 when it was shipped to London from Portugal. For almost two centuries it was enjoyed only by the aristocracy. That all changed in 1714 when the first "modern " recipe for marmalade appeared in an English language cookery book. Winston Churchill considered the spread an essential part of the full English breakfast, which he washed down with Pol Roger champagne, saying: "In victory, deserve it. In defeat, need it."

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