Cumbria may be most famous for its stunning countryside, lakes and mountains, but foodies are also in for a treat when they visit England’s most beautiful national park.
Typical Cumbrian fare includes delicious meats, cheeses and confectionery, unique to this stunning part of England.
Situated in the north-west of the country, Cumbria and in particular the Lake District attract thousands of visitors each year who come to enjoy the magnificent scenery and mountainous lakeside landscapes, plus enjoy some of their favourite Cumbrian food along the way.
Nobody knows why Cumberland Sausage is coiled instead of in the traditional links, but it is linked (excuse the pun) to the times when German miners were in Cumbria during the reign of Elizabeth I. The sausages were said to have been created to suit their taste and flavoured with spices imported into Cumberland via the major port of the time at Whitehaven.
Anyone who is lucky enough to be in the Lake District in April should visit the nearby Lyth Valley where the white blossom of the damson trees is a stunning sight. Damsons are used in this part of the world to make jams and the famous local speciality, Damson gin. Most pubs sell the gin if you want to try a glass or two. The skins of the damsons are also used to dye textiles.
Kendal Mint Cake
Thought to have been invented by mistake, Kendal Mint Cake was created by Joseph Wiper who was trying to make a clear mint at the time. He ended up with a cloudy mint with a thicker consistency and the rest, as they say is history. Mint cake is now produced as white or brown bars or chocolate coated and is carried by many walkers who may need an energy boost while walking the local fells. Sir Edmund Hilary and Sirdar Tensing ate the famous Kendal Mint cake on the summit of Everest in 1953.
Not only is Grasmere famous for William Wordsworth´s former house, Dove Cottage but this quaint village also boasts Sarah Nelson´s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. The shop was built in 1630 and is tucked away in the corner of the churchyard of St Oswald´s Church. Sarah Kemp was a local girl who was born in Bowness in 1815. During her time in Service, Sarah excelled as a cook.
When the local school house closed down in 1850 and the children were sent to a new school, Sarah took over the tenancy of the property and the Sarah Nelson Gingerbread Shop was born. When Sarah died the recipe passed to her great niece, who sold it to Daisy Hotson, who later went into partnership with Jack and Mary Wilson. In 1969 Margaret and Gerald Wilson, Jack’s nephew, bought the business.
Over the years little has changed in this tiny shop – the school coat pegs are still in place, and so is the cupboard used to house the school slates. Sarah would still feel at home in her kitchen, her curtain rod rests above the churchyard window where William Wordsworth and his family lie buried, as well as the Nelson family.
Herdwick Sheep and lambs graze on the natural herbage of the region which gives their meat a distinct flavour. Cumberland tattie pot is a delicious recipe which includes swede and black pudding and layers of potatoes. Pickled red cabbage is often served as a side dish. A traditional sauce served with lamb or ham is Cumberland sauce made from the juices of oranges and lemons, added to redcurrant jelly, mustard, port and ginger.
If you are planning to visit the Lake District, why not book a Windermere spa hotel and make the most of your stay.
The Lake District is heaven for foodies, and whether you enjoy cakes, pastries, traditional sausages and cheeses or some famous Grasmere Gingerbread, you will be spoilt for choice in the Lakes.