The Lake District, Cumbria is fast gaining a reputation as a food lover's must-visit destination. Our locally sourced and produced food and drink are just some of the many things that make this county special. Each area has something to offer you and your appetite.

The food and drink available in Cumbria is so good that we have come up with a selection of favourites in association with Kath and Liam Berney of The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter Forest near Keswick. Some of these local delights you may already know but if there are any on the list that you have not tried before, we recommend you do, you won't be disappointed!
 

Sticky Toffee Pudding
 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

A classic British desert, attributed to Francis Coulson of Sharrow Bay who originally named it 'icky sticky toffee pudding'. The exact recipe is a highly guarded secret but there have been many versions produced over the years and the simplicity of this popular date pudding with toffee sauce means you don't have to look too hard to find an excellent recipe.

For those who prefer not to make their own, there are some really good sticky toffee puddings available to buy, notably from the Cartmel village shop.



Easter Ledge Pudding
 

Easter Ledge Pudding

Much like Simon Rogan of L’Enclume (the two Michelin star, five AA Rosette restaurant located in Cartmel), foodie pioneers were keen to ‘tap into the terroir’ of Cumbria by developing recipes that utilised the wild foods of the area. One such dish is Easter Ledge.

The name itself is a term used to describe young wild leaves, mainly dandelion and nettles or bistort. The leaves are boiled and turned into a purée which is then enriched with butter, boiled barley and chopped egg, before being pressed.

This dish is known to have been a particular favourite of the legendary Windermere chef John Tovey, who served a warm slice of Easter Ledge Pudding with lamb roasted in hay.



Windermere Char
 

The char is a freshwater fish which is almost exclusively found in Windermere, Englands longest lake.
Possibly a result of the ice age, or maybe introduced by Romans, we may never know, but it was legendary chef Bronwen Nixon of Rothay Manor near Windermere who brought it to the menu and is credited with making it a local speciality. She would serve the fish in one of two ways - either simply baked and served with seasonal vegetables, or potted, much like potted shrimps, with the fish fillets cooked, carefully flaked and turned into a paste. Fishing restrictions now protect the stocks of char and its close relative the arctic char and the fish is farmed to a very high standard.



Damson Cheese
 

Damsons

Lyth Valley, south east of Windermere is an area of the lake District famed for producing Damsons. Smaller than the ones found elsewhere in the UK, Lyth Valley Damsons are delicious with a distinctive slightly tart flavour and are particularly aromatic.

The Lyth Valley is perfect for growing these delicious little gems. Bronwen Nixon would serve her 'Damson Cheese' with local lamb. Damson chees is the result of cooking 1kg of rinsed damsons slowly in a covered pot until tender, drained and then passed through a sieve to form a purée. 500g of sugar is then added and the mixture is boiled until it leaves the side of the pan. When left to cool, you have delicious damson cheese! Oh, and if you like a tipple, damsons, like sloes also make very good gin!



Herdwick Hogget
 

Herdwick Hogget

The Herdwick, also known locally as 'herdies' is Cumbria's native sheep and is officially recognised as a world-class breed. You can see then roaming the fells of Cumbria, foraging amongst the wild grass and heathers.The Herdwick is also central to the local cuisine. Sometimes the animals are left to mature to a point that they can no longer clased as lamb, and is instead referred to as hogget, which means a sheep that is aged between one and two years.

Herdwick Hogget is cooked very much like lamb, by roasting a leg or shoulder or grilling a cutlet. If you are visiting The Cottage in the Wood, their 'Taste of Cumbria' menu offers a roasted loin served with a slow-braised breast and crispy nugget of sweetbread. If you like home cooking, the Lakeland Farm Visitor centre is an excellent local producer of the finest quality Herdwick Hoggett and if you are a fan of black pudding, their own special recipe is really worth trying.



Spicy Food
 

Spices

The Cumbrian connection with spices happened long before Eastern restaurants came to the UK. In the 1700s, the port of Whitehaven on the West coast of Cumbria was one fo the busiest harbours in the country and accounted for the majority of trade with the Caribbean and Americas, namely sugars and spices.

In addition, immigrant German mine workers brought with them a taste for spicy sausage which contributed to the inspiration for the recipe to the area's famous banger (see below).



Cumberland Sausage
 

Cumberland Sausage

Taking it's name from Cumberland, one of the original counties that merged to form the current county of Cumbria, the Cumberland Sausage is not just a favourite of the area but across the UK. It has gained a 'Protected Designation of Origin' status, meaning that a true Cumberland Sausage can only come from the area.

A spicy sausage, local butchers have their own interpretations on a theme, but they all have high pork content, and can often be found as a distinctive coil. Delicious served with mash and onion gravy, you can source an outstanding example at RB Woodall in Waberthwaite. Of such a high standard as to hold a royal warrent, they have been producing sausages and curing bacon since 1828.



Grasmere Gingerbread
 

Grasmere Gingerbread

It was the victorian cook Sarah Nelson who first combined simple ingredients to create the afternoon tea delight that is Grasmere Gingerbread. She sold it from her church cottage home and that is exactly where you can find it now - the Grasmere Gingerbread shop is a must for foodies travelling through the area. This unique delicacy is a cross between biscuit and cake that is faithful to the original recipe, which remains top secret to this day!



Morecambe Bay Shrimps
 

Potted Shrimps

Morecambe Bay runs around the southern shores of Cumbria and the sands of the bay yield these sweet and succulent tiny brown shrimps. Best prepared simplty by 'potting' them with melted butter and seasoning with cayenne, mace and grated nutmeg before being cooled quickly in a refrigerator. Best served warmed slightly with good brown bread. These little fishy treats are often found as a 'cheffy' garnish in top restaurants.


Cumberland Rum Nicky
 

Cumberland Rum Nicky

As mentioned earlier, West Cumbria has a long standing connection with the Americas. But sugar and spices were not the only ingredients to come across the water to land in Cumbria. Caribbean rum was quickly adopted by the Cumbrians as part of their culinary identity.

Rum Nicky is a simple dessert comprising shortcrust pastry base with dates and brown sugar which is then elevated to something very special by the addition of dark rum. Again, our friend Bronwen Nixon of Rothay Manor was famed for a particularly fine version of this tasty treat.

Related

The Cottage in the Wood
Restaurant
Restaurant

The Cottage in the Wood Country Hotel and restaurant is a former 17th Century coaching inn situated in the heart of the Whinlatter forest near Keswick, in one of the most beautiful and dramatic areas of the Lake District national park.

Cartmel Village Shop
Shop - Food
Cartmel Village Shop

Birthplace of Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, also stocks the very finest local produce and speciality food. It really is a foodies paradise.

L`Enclume
Restaurant
L`Enclume

L'Enclume is Simon Rogan's iconic restaurant in The Lakes, where culinary creativity harnesses the powerful connection between food and nature.

Rothay Manor Fine Dining
Restaurant

The new restaurant at Rothay Manor offer modern contemporary British cuisine, Currently holding 2AA rosettes head Chef Brandon Shepherd highlights the very best local produce, cooked, prepared and presented with imagination & flair.

Lakeland Farm Visitor Centre - The Farm Shop & Butchers
Shop - Farm

A new and authentic farm visitor experience in The Lake District. Learn why the modern Lakeland farm is so important to The Lakes, and how historic farming has helped form this beautiful landscape. See Livestock Shows daily, dry stone walling demonstrations and get involved with the Wool Spinning Experience. Whilst visiting, treat yourself to some delicious home made food and drink in the farm cafe and why not visit the farm shop and butchers, where you can take home some of our superb quality local produce.

Grasmere Gingerbread®
Shop - Food
Grasmere Gingerbread

Church cottage originally built in 1630 as the village school. Established in 1854 as Sarah Nelson's Original Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

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