Jams and preserves for sale copyright Michael Turner

Food and drink

The Lake District is a foodie's heaven with many locally produced, organically grown products. Some have a distinctly Lake District history, such as:

Cumberland sausage

This rolled-up coil of a sausage is sold by weight or length. It consists of rough cut pork, spices, herbs and pepper. There are many theories as to its distinctive shape. One possibility is the shape was introduced during Elizabethan times by German miners who worked in the Lake District. Find out more on Wikipedia - Cumberland Sausage (opens new window). You can sample it for yourself at Brockhole - The Lake District Visitor Centre cafe menu (opens in new window).

Damsons

Damson copyright Val Corbett

Originally damsons came from the area around Damascus. Damsons have been grown in Westmorland since the early 1700s. The Westmorland damson is a member of the plum family. Its unique flavour is caused by cross pollination with wild sloes and also the favourable Cumbrian climate.

In springtime, the white blossom of the damson orchards fill the Winster Valley and Lyth Valley, east of Windermere. The fruit is harvested in September. Damsons are used to flavour wines, gin, pies, cheeses, chocolate, bread, jams and beer.

Find out more at the  (opens in new window) which runs the Damson Day festival.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding, one of the world’s favourite desserts, is a Lake District creation - invented by Francis Coulson in the 1970’s, at Sharrow Bay on Ullswater. A rich fig, yet surprisingly light as air, sponge pudding, is drenched in a rich toffee sauce; a guilt free treat perfect for after a day on the fells. The popularity of the original recipe proved such that all chefs at Sharrow Bay have to sign a secrecy agreement never to reveal the recipe, nor use it in any other establishment they work in.

Grasmere gingerbread

This secret recipe was created by Sarah Nelson in 1854. It’s a unique product, between a cake and a biscuit and nothing like crisp gingerbread used for gingerbread shapes. You can buy it from the  (opens in new window) in Grasmere village next to the church.

Herdwick lamb

Herdwick lambs grow slowly because of the harsh Lake District climate on the higher fells. This makes the meat sweeter and fuller in flavour. It’s at its best between January and May.

Kendal Mint Cake

This slice of peppermint flavoured congealed sugar has been giving an energy boost to walkers and climbers in the Lake District for over a century. It even made it to the top of the world in the 1953 Everest expedition.

It was made by accident by a confectioner who was making mints but found that the mixture had turned cloudy. When he poured it out, Kendal Mint Cake was born! It is made in Kendal, just outside the National Park. Suppliers include  and  (both links open in a new window)

Rum butter

This is made by mixing butter with rum, nutmeg and brown sugar. There was an ancient custom to serve it to celebrate the birth of a new baby, where visitors would leave coins in the butter bowl to symbolise bringing a prosperous life to the baby.

Rum was popular in the Lake District in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as it was imported, and smuggled illegally, through the thriving sea ports on the west coast. Some Lake District families still own their ancestors' Rum Butter bowls. Read more in  (opens in new window)

Other useful links

All open in new windows unless stated otherwise:

Keswick Brewery

Keswick Brewery Company

Tour a small craft brewery in the scenic Lake District.

More on Keswick Brewery and book

The Rum Story

The Rum Story

Learn about the 'rum' tales of pirates and smugglers.

More on The Rum Story and book

Need holiday accommodation?

Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

We've cosy holiday cottages, quirky boutique hotels, friendly bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels!

Our commission goes towards keeping the National Park special: Browse and book accommodation online here