While the British public laments the loss of what has been a beautiful British summer, I for one am looking forward to autumn with its crunchy leaves, damp mornings and shorter days. Why, you may ask? The simple reason is the delicious food that this season brings with it. Cosy comfort food and warm, satisfying meals are on the menu along with steaming hot drinks and freshly baked desserts, especially now that the beach season is behind us! Dining out is a favourite pastime of many here at Sykes and autumn, with its cooler temperatures, is the perfect time to indulge.
The Good Food Guide must be in agreement with this sentiment as they have recently published their new edition for 2014. The restaurant awarded the number one spot may come a surprise to many as it is nestled not in the heart of London but in the rolling countryside of the Lake District. L’Enculme, in the picturesque village of Cartmel, beat competitors such as restaurants owned by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay to be crowned the best restaurant in the UK. Elizabeth Carter, the guide’s consultant editor, elaborated on the decision stating that their “fantastic way with seasonal ingredients from the Cumbrian land and coast brings dishes that are a joyful celebration of this county’s magnificent diversity”.
As a result of such an achievement, we’ve been inspired to share with you some of our favourite cuisine originating from the Lake District.
Perhaps the most famous of the Lake District’s produce is the Cumberland sausage which is made of spiced pork with a predominantly peppery taste. They have a high meat content and a distinctly chunky texture as they are chopped rather than minced. A very satisfying and filling meal, these traditional sausages taste incredible in a casserole or smothered in caramelised onion gravy with mashed potatoes.
Seafood is ever popular in the Lake District due to its abundance in the surrounding lakes and fells. One of the most common Lakes seafood dishes is potted brown shrimp caught by the local fisherman in Morecambe Bay. Served in an array of spices and butter, this dish is delicious served on warm toast. Another Lakeland delicacy is arctic char which can be found in the depths of Lake Windermere. A special licence is needed to catch char, which is a relative of salmon, and as a result it is considered a real luxury.
Traditional Lakeland Desserts
There are so many wonderful deserts to originate from the Lakes that it’s hard to pick just one! Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread is an all-time favourite with a closely guarded recipe that has been kept a secret since the 1850s. Sticky toffee pudding is also claimed to have been born in the Lakes. This delicious dessert consists of a steamed sponge cake covered in a toffee sauce and is normally served with ice cream or custard. It is a firm favourite in households across Britain. Finally, no discussion of traditional Lake District food is complete without a mention of Kendal Mint Cake. A simple blend of sugar, glucose, water and peppermint, Kendal Mint Cake is traditionally used by mountaineers and explorers to give them energy on their expeditions but is often enjoyed (in moderation) by those with a very sweet tooth.
If like me, you’re now watering at the mouth and ready to head to the Lakes at the next possible opportunity, don’t forget to take a look at our wide selection of self-catering cottages in the Lake District where you’ll be able to enjoy traditional Cumbrian food every day of your holiday!