I know I’ve expressed, in many posts, my love for gingerbread. So, of course when I heard about a much-talked-about gingerbread in Cumbria (the Lakes District), I just had to seek it out. But first, allow me to talk about my Lakes experience.
Since we were just ‘tasting’ the English countryside, we chose to explore the lake closest to the Manchester area – where we recently stopped for an Italian dinner. The lake we decided on was Lake Windermere.
The village of Windermere was a lovely lakeside spot with shops and full of Brits enjoying the summer sun. After a day of cruising the lake, we dined at a locally sourced restaurant called Wild & Co. – located just in the town center. Their menu honors offerings from Cumbria’s landscapes, lakes and seaside coast.
My dinner consisted of sea bass and cockles with samphire, sage and coastal vegetables. [pictured] For dessert, a delicious treacle tart topped with ginger ice cream. (Did I mention I love ginger?)
If you visit Windermere, go to Wild & Co. and make room for dessert – their ice creams are made in house.
The following day, we set off to find this famous gingerbread I kept reading about. As I mentioned, I absolutely love gingerbread so this was sort-of my highlight of Cumbria. Sad, isn’t it? What is even more sad, is that I was torn between going South to the birthplace of Sticky Toffee Pudding or North for this darn intriguing gingerbread. It was a tough decision, but North to Grassmere we went.
And a lovely drive it was: through the hills and valleys and over the rivers of the Lakes District just north of Lake Windermere. We arrived in the tiny village of Grassmere. An adorable river wove through the setting of stone houses and a lovely church. As we approached the church, we sensed that warm aroma of gingerbread in the air.
Like Hansel & Gretel, we followed the seductive scent to a tiny white house with green shutters, known as Sarah Nelson’s Grassmere Gingerbread Shop. It looked like a little old lady’s cottage, which added to the experience. There was a small line of five people (thank goodness) and we took our place. As we waited, the gingerbread aroma danced around us, teasing my senses. It was just so pleasant and enticing. We finally made our way inside and found a small counter with two ladies dressed in antiquated attire. One lady was packaging the gingerbread while the other waited on customers. Note: About two or three were able to fit in the tiny area at a time. Suddenly, a man dressed in white, comes out from the side door with a freshly baked tray of warm gingerbread. I was in heaven.
We purchased a tin of gingerbread and made our way to the churchyard around the back of the cottage. In the tiny, well-manicured cemetery, was the grave of the famous poet Wordsworth – a pleasant find. It made me feel like I could use the excuse to appear as an educated literary tourist. Little did people know, I was really there for the food. What? Well, I was.
We found a bench just around the bend and broke into our gingerbread. It was unlike any gingerbread I had tasted before. I was familiar with the commonly known gingerbread of thick cakey goodness, or the crispy dry cookie variety. This gingerbread had more like a sticky, semi-soft, toffee-like consistency, and it was generously coated with crumbled shortbread. Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread is Lorenzo approved.