When you think of the Lake District, food is probably not the first thing that comes to mind but in fact the Lakes are a real foodie’s delight. Cumbrian cuisine still bears the legacy of the 16th Century spice traders who once docked on the west coast, as can still be seen in Cumberland Sauce, Rum Butter and the famous Grasmere Gingerbread.
You may be familiar with the large, coiled Cumberland Sausage, but have you ever tried Salt Marsh Lamb? Making a virtue of necessity, local farmers allow their sheep to graze on the salt marshes of the Cartmel peninsula and the diet of puccinellia, sea lavender and marsh samphire results in much more flavour than in spring lamb.
Cumbria is also heaven for those with a sweet tooth. Kendal Mint-Cake has long been favoured by climbers and hikers as an invaluable energy booster (Sir Edmund Hillary took some up Everest) and the Toffee Shop in Penrith makes the most delicious fudge and toffee which is broken into pieces with a hammer. Cartmel is the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding and, if you want to take a little taste of Cumbria home with you, the Hawkshead Relish Company offers a huge range of award-winning homemade products, made on Graythwaite.
It is not only food on offer however, The Lyth and Winster Valleys between Kendal and Windermere are well know for their damson orchards, the home of the Westmorland Damson, and so Damson Gin is a favourite local tipple. For the ale lovers there are several boutique breweries to explore, including Cumbrian Legendary Ales who are also based on Graythwaite and are stocked in many local pubs.
So next time it is too wet and windy for a walk, why not take yourself for a gastronomic tour of the Lakes instead?