Giant empire biscuit launches Carluke Jam and Ham Festival

Joseph, Lana and Jamie with the giant empire biscuit.
Joseph, Lana and Jamie with the giant empire biscuit.

National media and television descended on Carluke Market Square on Tuesday for the unveiling of what was claimed to be the biggest empire biscuit in the world.

Carluke preserve producer R&W Scott unveiled the huge biscuit, created by Clarks the Baker using a time-honoured Scottish recipe and smothered with the company’s strawberry jam and icing.

Baker Brian Clark with his normal range of empire biscuits!

Baker Brian Clark with his normal range of empire biscuits!

At 36 inches wide, it is said to weigh 18 kilos. It was made with more than eight bags of flour and three bags of sugar, 16 blocks of butter, 10 jars of R&W Scott jam, 50 eggs and 2kg of R&W Scott fondant icing, and it took over 24 hours to bake.

The final touch, maraschino cherries, were added in the square by St Athanasius Primary School pupils Jamie Gordon, 10, Lana Irvine, six, and Joseph Irvine, eight, who smiled until their teeth must have ached while cameras clicked all around them.

John Easton, managing director of R&W Scott, said: “We’ve been supporting Carluke Jam and Ham Festival for the last four years, but this year we wanted to do something really special to draw the crowds to our wee town.

“This creation demonstrates the amazing talent and tastes coming out of Carluke.

Bakers Brian Clark and Jonathan Lightbody from Clarks the Bakers,  with the children, unveiling the giant biscuit.

Bakers Brian Clark and Jonathan Lightbody from Clarks the Bakers, with the children, unveiling the giant biscuit.

“It’s a masterpiece, and we’re delighted with the results.”

After its grand unveiling, what is said to be the world’s largest empire biscuit will be put on display at the festival this Saturday, September 30, with mini versions available for kids to taste.

Baker Brian Clark will be giving demonstrations in a marquee at Rankin Gait, during the day, and youngsters will have the chance to decorate their own empire biscuits.

The creation of the giant biscuit started the countdown to this year’s jam and ham festival, organised by Carluke Development Trust and with R&W Scott and bacon curer Ramsay’s as its main supporters.

The three-day festival, beginning today, Thursday, includes events across Carluke, and live music in local bars at night.

Today sees a day centre concert at 1pm and high school concert “The High School Jam 2017” - at 7pm, then on Friday it is the turn of the primary schools with their showcase in St Athanasius Church from 1pm and later the Shine concert, at 7.30pm, in Kirkton Church.

Tesco also hosts a jam-tasting session on Friday afternoon.

But Saturday’s jamboree is the highlight of the festival.

This year a jam and ham procession, led by gala queen Eve Grierson, will kick off the day’s events.

The procession, leaving Carluke High Street at 10.30am, will feature a band, and a jam and ham float with youngsers from Riverside Nursery.

The procession will finish at Mount Stewart Street, where Eve will officially open the jamboree, with its market stalls, live music, hot food, and an art exhibition.

For the youngsters, there will be face-painting and a free funfair.

The Jampionship 2017 gives everyone the chance to test their baking, craft and jam-making skills, with prizes awarded around 3pm at Ramsay’s.

Carluke Library will be holding a series of events and competitions for local nursery schools.