Perth Royal Show: Secrets well preserved

Picking winners: Geoff Hopkins has a knack for creating award-winning preserves. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d441895
Picking winners: Geoff Hopkins has a knack for creating award-winning preserves. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d441895

The Nedlands resident won two firsts and a third at last year�s cookery exhibition but his late wife�s top-secret relish recipe earned him the prize closest to his heart.

�Over the years we have lived in various houses with orange or lemon trees, so I started making jams just to save the fruit that dropped on the ground,� Mr Hopkins said.

�In 2010 I thought: �Let�s slip a couple of jars into the show and see what happens�.

�There were lots of quite formidable-looking ladies in big white coats. I thought I had encountered the Country Women�s Association mafia.

�They said my marmalade was �slightly burnt�, which hit me quite hard. It took me a while to get confident enough to go back and tackle it again.�

A year after his wife�s death, Mr Hopkins entered his tribute Grandma�s Relish, orange cognac marmalade and mustard in the 2014 Perth Royal Show.

�I nearly fell over when her relish won first prize,� he said.

�My five children and 11 grandchildren ask for it all the time; they are the ultimate taste testers. At the end of the day it�s all about having fun, being innovative and making something that you like.�

Mr Hopkins said he had created some new flavour combinations for this year�s competition.

The Perth Royal Show runs from September 26 to October 3.