Grasmere Gingerbread Shop in Cumbria, UK?

I’ve just placed a large order for the holiday season and I’m wondering what to expect… specifically with regards to their local tea, conserves, toffee, fudge, etc? I understand that it’s not all made in-house; their conserves and marmalades which are labeled “Sarah’s Home Made __” seem to originate from www.wildandfruitful.co.uk, for instance. It does indicate that it’s “Homemade in Cumbria for Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop”, for what it’s worth. The tea is from Farrer’s which looks to be a local Kendal institution. The toffee butter & treacle comes from a famous toffee shop in Penrith. I also ordered a selection of old fashioned “country” fudge in ginger, chocolate, rum & raisin, and Irish cream which doesn’t specify any place of origin but indicates that it’s handmade and looks to be packaged by a very local artisanal producer. It’s hard to find much info on anything; this appears to be the big export industry in the provincial Lakeland area, so all I get is marketing and tourist driven links to social media review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, which are of little to no help. I wanted to do something festive for the holidays, since I convinced my wife to ditch the customary visit to my in-laws in Orange County and instead talked her into a snowy white Christmas in the Canadian north, so I thought it would be fun to go all-out with the traditional Yuletide garnishings. I also ordered a plum pudding (never had one before in my life) and some toffee lollies, mulled wine sachets, their famous Cumberland rum butter, and of course, plenty of Grasmere gingerbread, which I look forward to trying. It wasn’t inexpensive however, and I recognize that I could have ordered some really fine imported food products for the cost, so I just hope that I haven’t been sucked into a tourist trap… If anyone is familiar with this shop or local products from the region, I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers

Grasmere gingerbread is the real deal. We bought some when we were last in the village a couple of years back.

I’ve no knowledge of the shop’s other products I’m afraid. That said, Cumbria is quite a foody county with a number of small producers. The toffee people in Penrith are one such. I know of them but don;t recall eating their products (we have a good fudge person at our local farmers market).

It seems that you may only be missing some chutney and/or pickle to go with the cold turkey. If not too late (assuming they export), I can thoroughly recommend this company, located in a village only a couple of miles from Grasmere. We stocked up earlier in the year. If they have pickled local damsons available, they are outstanding with cold turkey or ham. http://www.hawksheadrelish.com/

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Thanks very much for the reassurance!

I did buy a conserve with damson, ginger and gunpowder tea. I must admit that I wasn’t previously familiar with damsons, but I’m quite certain I’ve had them from local markets. Apparently they grow wild in the Northwestern region of the U.S. I’m sure the taste is nothing like your local damsons though!

I did buy a homemade Cumbrian Apple & Ginger Chutney from the same shop - http://www.grasmeregingerbread.co.uk/products/homemade-conserves/sarah-s-homemade-cumbrian-apple-ginger-chutney/

We won’t be having a big holiday spread this year, but hopefully the chutney will go well with cheese. I wonder how it will compare to Hawkshead… I bought quite a few conserves, marmalades and chutneys from this shop, so I really hope they aren’t mass produced commercial jars that are just sold to tourists. They’ve won some gold medals and this looks to be the producer’s Facebook page, which is indeed promising: https://www.facebook.com/Wild-Fruitful-339277980667/

EDIT: Whaddya know, they sell Hawkshead jars through the Grasmere Gingerbread shop as well!

Damsons taste pretty much like a plum, a bit sharper, so can’t be eaten raw - and are only grape sized. South Cumbria is known for growing them.

I have my fingers crossed that you’ll be OK on the preserves. The difficulty can be that some are made pretty industrially but are then labelled up for individual shops. Others, of course, are genuine small producer stuff. As far as I know Hawkshead produce in medium sized batches but only under their own label.

Another Cumbrian product to look out for is Demels. And, in particular, their hot tamarind chutney which is wonderful on a chicken or ham sandwich. They were originally produced, in her own home kitchen, by a Sri Lankan lady who lived in the village of Ulverston. She retired and sold the business. It’s now operated on a larger scale but I don’t detect any change in quality.

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Thanks for the info and great tips. I came across the following article which again bodes well for my order: http://www.woodendcookery.co.uk/2014/08/03/wild-and-fruitful-award-winning-cumbrian-preserves/

I’m fairly confident that it will be good stuff. I only wish they had some of their bramble and blackcurrant preserves in stock. I’d love to visit the Lakeland region some day…

I just realized that this thread belongs in the U.K./ Ireland forum.

Can a moderator please make that adjustment?

Thanks,
Oliver

It’s a lovely part of the country and so often missed by foreign tourists. As you’ve spotted, there’s some great produce out there - Hawkshead’s blackcurrant jam is outstanding if ever you do come across it. My favourite lamb, Herdwick, is only raised in Cumbria and tastes great - really lamby. I think it must be all the work they put in running up and down hills.

Great restaurants as well - it’s almost impossible to find a really bad one. And many of them put local produce to the fore.

I feel very fortunate to have the area in my region and only a couple of hours drive away.

And, yes, the scenary can be stunning.

A brief post to second Harters’ (re)commendation for Grasmere gingerbread. I was there last month and whilst a bit of a touristy place ( village and esp shop ) the gingerbread itself is soooooooo worth it. Wonderful walking nearby too !

Thanks; can’t wait to try it!

My only concern is the short shelf life… I’ve been told that their gingerbread is best consumed within a week, but with int’l transit times, I just hope it remains fresh. It will probably be about 10 days or thereabouts between UK-US-CAD and I was planning to wait until Xmas morning to unwrap everything.

Well, how was it all?

The Grasmere gingerbread was fantastic; best I’ve ever had! The preserves were mostly excellent as well, along with jars of similar stuff like the chutney and rum butter, etc. All of the toffees and fudges were way too sweet for my taste and the plum pudding wasn’t really my thing, but it’s hard to compare as I haven’t had one before. The gingerbread was really the big winner. Other things like the mulling spices were not bad but much better from local outlets like Spice Ace in San Francisco. Overall I was pretty happy with all of the purchases although much was unnecessary. Next time I’ll stick to the gingerbread.

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Thanks for letting us know

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold