Lake District Specialties
2 April 2021
Generations of farmers have worked and shaped the Lake District. They have helped the region become known for delicious, savoury, rustic dishes that are beloved across Britain. This has been complemented by a growing interest in gastronomy. With family companies producing small batch gourmet delights from local ingredients. Here are just some of Cumbria’s favourite regional delicacies; Lake District specialties to make your mouth water.
In 1854, Victorian cook Sarah Nelson invented the delicious Grasmere Gingerbread®. Today the shop is run by third generation family members. You can buy award winning rum butter, toffee, rich conserves, ginger ale and other Lakes favourites like Cartmel Village Store Sticky Toffee Sauce and Kendal Mint Cake. You can also arrange a group visit. There you can learn about the history of the shop, as well as sample some mouth-watering freshly baked gingerbread.
Tips: They’re currently selling online, but popularity means there are long wait times for delivery!
Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding
Twenty years ago, the proprietors of Cartmel Village Shop began making sticky toffee puddings in the back kitchen. These award-winning puddings are handmade from 100% natural ingredients. And today, they’re available in luxury supermarkets and department stores. Including Booths, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum and Mason. They’ve even been endorsed by Nigella Lawson–
“It is dangerously easy to warm one in the oven and slather it with cream.”
Tips: You can purchase them online, both the original flavour and variations including ginger, banana, and apple crumble.
In 1999, this family run business had a busy café in Hawkshead. They began making relishes and chutneys on the side. Their popularity skyrocketed, so they started taking samples to garden centres, boutiques and restaurants. They now offer over 100 products and have won over 60 Great Taste Awards. Their products are traditionally made, free from nuts, gluten, additives and preserves. They’re all vegetarian and many are vegan.
Tips: Shop their range online, or try some of the delicious recipes on their website!
Salt Marsh Lamb
Salt Marsh Lamb is a delicious, seasonal specialty, available from June to October. It’s the name given to the meat from sheep that have grazed on land regularly submerged in seawater. Often sourced from animals who have roamed the Cartmel Peninsula. The meat is lighter, lower fat and juicier than mountain reared lamb. You can also buy fantastic cuts from Plumgarth’s Farm Shop, where the meat is sourced from the family farm.
Tips: Keep an eye out for saltmarsh lamb at local butchers, June – October.
Cumberland sausage originated in the ancient county of Cumberland, which is now part of Cumbria. It is traditionally sold in coils and has been a local specialty for over 500 years. This mouth-watering classic won protected status in 2011. It contains a minimum of 80% pork, and has to be made in Cumbria to qualify. It used to be more heavily flavoured, due to an influx of then new spices imported through the port of Whitehaven.
Tips: Try R B Woodall Butchers in Millom, where the Cumberland Sausages are 95% meat – you can even get gluten free varieties.
Damsons were originally introduced to Britain from Damascus by either crusaders or Roman soldiers. They began thriving in Westmorland (now incorporated into Cumbria) in the early 1700s. Today an annual Damson Day is held in the Lyth Valley by the Westmorland Damson Association to promote the jams, jellies and gins now made from the traditional and delectable fruit. Visit in Spring for local produce, and to experience the cascade of white blossom.
Tips: Try the variety by husband and wife team Lakeland Artisans, or shop local at Damson Day.
We’re looking forward to trying these hearty Lake District specialties, along with other favourites such as Herdwick Hodgett, Damson gin, and Eden Valley cheeses. Many available at the local farm shops and markets, or in restaurants in Cumbria.
What’s your favourite?