Our picks: Five Cumbrian products you NEED to take home with you
You’re in the Lake District on staycation, you may be a first time visitor, you may have been asked by your friends and family for a souvenir. A magnet or tea towel not quite cutting it?
Cumbria has an abundance of amazing regional food and drink, but which do you choose to impress your friends and family?
Fear no more! Here’s our top five picks to help you on your way:
1. Traditional Cumberland Sausage
Of course we had to mention Cumberland Sausage – it’s what we’re famous for, after all!
Cranstons has been using the same recipe since we began trading as a butcher all the way back in 1914. The recipe – surprise, surprise – is a secret. Not even the lads and lasses who make it know what specifically is in the herb and spices mix we blend with local succulent pork, let alone the ratios of each.
What’s more, we buy all of our pork from a farm just down the road from our head office site, in Newbiggin near Penrith. It doesn’t travel far at all!
To be a true Cumberland sausage it must be thick, unlinked and have over 80% pork. Our recipe isn’t too spicy so it is great for kids and adults. It’s won Great Taste Awards and generations of families still come to us as it’s the only sausage they buy.
We also make a gluten-free version!
2. Penrith Toffee Shop Fudge
This one is a classic case of: “If you know, you know.”
The fudge is in the traditional tablet style. No seaside-esque chewy fudge here, it’s very sweet and just mouth-wateringly good!
The Toffee Shop has the royal seal of approval by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, and the fudge and toffee features in the Royal Collection of goods on sale at the Royal residences of Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Highgrove. We feel this is testament enough to sample some of this traditional tablet fudge, and don’t forget to pick up a box of toffee while you’re at it!
Mel, our Marketing Coordinator, visited a Cumbrian ex-pat the other week and took some of this fabled fudge with her, and the squeal of delight was something else: Penrithians LOVE it!
3. Paddigill Farm Rum Butter
If you’re not Cumbrian or Northern, you’ve *maybe* heard of it, but we bet most of you are thinking “What the heck?”
We’ve been given it by our grandparents to try by the spoonful. We can vouch that it is good on warm fruit scones (in particular ones from Oswald’s at Cranstons), shortbread, on hot toast and sensational on mince pies.
No one knows its exact origins, but we know, with rum first being imported into the UK from the West Indies to the ports in Whitehaven, Maryport and Workington, the sweet concoction began to make its way across the county in the 1800s. There are a few fables and tales attached to its origins including smugglers and pirates and imports of butter, sugar and rum.
“Why’s the rum gone?”
4. Loweswater Gold (a keg of) by Cumbrian Ales
We stock a wide range of local craft ales, lagers and beers but our must-try is Loweswater Gold made by Cumbrian Ales – a predictable choice. It’s a smooth light golden ale with notes of tropical fruit through it. Don’t just take our word for it, it’s a CAMRA winner, and that says everything!
We sell it by the bottle, gift pack, case and keg (we’d go for the keg…). You’ll even find it in our steak and ale pies in the winter months!
5. Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding
You can’t do a “Best of Cumbria” countdown without mentioning the best dessert of them all: Sticky Toffee Pudding.
It is thought that the original (again, secret) recipe came from Sharrow Bay Hotel, just down the road from us by Ullswater, in the 1970s. A relatively ‘new’ pudding despite its dated (if you pardon the pun) taste and texture.
The pudding, which is steamed, combines dates, a rich toffee sauce with a side of cream, custard or ice cream.
Cartmel Sticky Toffee pudding has its own following. The team at Cartmel has been producing their version of Sticky Toffee Pudding for around 20 years and is still as popular now, as it was back at the turn of the millennium.
All five products are available at our Food Halls and our sausage is also available on our online shop which can be found here