Christmas gift ideas from The Lakes and Cumbria (2)

Introduction

Introduction

There’s never been a better - or more important - time to buy local than this Christmas. And if there’s one thing that the Lake District and Cumbria can really boast about - along with the beauty of its landscape - it’s the wealth of independent shops, producers and makers that you find in every corner of the county. If it’s food and drink you’re after, you’re certainly spoilt for choice: from cheese, chutneys, coffee, jams and cakes to beers, whisky, vodka, meat, fish and festive food, The Lakes is the perfect place to shop. Take a look at the places below for great gifts and tasty treats. 

Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall, Penrith

Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall, Penrith

A huge choice of festive food is the traditional Cranstons Christmas offering to its customers, with free range Bronze turkeys, free range Creedy Carver duck, barn reared farm turkeys, three bird roasts, chuckling cushions and its Beef Wellington (a Great Taste Award winner 2021) taking centre stage. Not forgetting treats like gammon, wild venison, local game, pigs in blankets, caramelised onion garlands, fish and seafood and Cranstons Christmas puddings. A range of food hampers, replete with great local food, make terrific presents too. Cranstons are also in Carlisle, Brampton and at Orton Grange near Carlisle. www.cranstons.net

Eden Valley and the East

Mr Vikki's

Mr Vikki's

If you’re looking for a hot date this Christmas, try one of Mr Vikki’s distinctive range of pickles, chutneys, jams or sauces. A self-confessed ‘chilli-head’, Adam Marks has been putting fire into the belly of thousands of food fans over 15 years, picking up more than 120 Great Taste Awards in the process. His Chilli Jam, for instance, received the maximum three stars at the awards in 2021. Check out the range of hampers (luxury, hot, chilli Mafia, Indian), packs and gift boxes. ’We make fresh, delicious and complex tasting products that not only have a serious kick to them but also deliver on flavour,’ he says. You’ll find Mr Vikki’s in many food shops. www.mrvikkis.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Cartmel Village Shop

Cartmel Village Shop

Birthplace of the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, this is a perfect shop for homemade mince pies, Christmas puddings, sticky figgy puddings and made to order Christmas hampers. Even though Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding is made down the road in Flookburgh you can still buy the full family range of puddings here. There’s plenty of other food and drink for sale: sausages and smoked salmon, bacon and air dried ham, pickles and jams, fudge, mint cake, coffee and tea, gin, vodka and mint cake liqueur. Lots of Cumbrian producers are represented on the shelves and fruit and vegetables are stocked too. www.cartmelvillageshop.co.uk

Kendal and the South

Appleby Creamery

Appleby Creamery

There’s been ‘unprecedented demand’ for cheese from this Cumbrian creamery which produces cheeses made with cow’s, goat’s and ewe’s milk. Eden Valley Brie is one of the most popular but look out too for Black Dub Blue, Eden Chieftain, Eden Smokie and Nanny McBrie. Check out the cheeses boxes and bundles or give someone a subscription to the firm’s Artisan Cheese Lovers’ Club. If you miss the boat for Christmas postal orders, call 01768 392949 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a £20 Christmas cheese selection: four best sellers plus chutney and traditional Scottish oatcakes. www.applebycreamery.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Lakeland Artisan/Lakeland Gifts

Lakeland Artisan/Lakeland Gifts

If you want to ‘buy local’ this Christmas and support some of Cumbria’s great food and drink producers, then head for Lakeland Artisan in either Bowness or Windermere, or Lakeland Gifts in Carlisle or Keswick. Between them there’s an excellent choice of jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, Kendal mint cake, puddings, olives, teas, whisky, gin, vodka, beers and Christmas hampers. Bottled beers from many of Cumbria’s small breweries are popular and so is the produce made by Lakeland Artisan, the family business which owns the shops and which has over 70 Great Taste Awards to its name. www.lakelandartisan.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Simon Rogan’s shop, Cartmel

Simon Rogan’s shop, Cartmel

Close to Simon Rogan's two Michelin starred restaurant L’Enclume is this shop, a perfect place to buy Rogan-related food, drink, hampers, books, merchandise and gift vouchers. You can buy vouchers for eating at L’Enclume, Rogan & Co (also in Cartmel) and Henrock at Linthwaite House near Bowness. Hampers include The Simon Rogan Luxury Hamper, The Foodie Hamper, The Chef’s Hamper and Brew Time. Tea towels, aprons, oven gloves, mugs, hand lotion and hand wash are sold, as is coal oil, meadowsweet sugar, coffee, granola, caper jam, Anvil beer and English sparkling rosé. Not forgetting Rogan: The Cookbook. www.simonrogan.co.uk/shop

Kendal and the South

Westwood Books, Sedbergh

Westwood Books, Sedbergh

For anyone looking for books to read or give as Christmas presents, head for this, the largest book shop in England’s Book Town. Over 70,000 titles are stocked, mainly secondhand but with plenty of new and antiquarian books as well. Owners Heather and Paul Thomas have brought massive enthusiasm and great ideas to the place since taking over in 2020, with events, promotions and lots of information on social media. Cards are sold along with Ollie Collie gifts, games, toys, maps and stationery. Have a coffee and decide whether to go for fiction, science fiction, Wordsworth classics, history, crime, travel and much more. www.westwoodbooks.co.uk

Kendal and the South

The Toffee Shop, Penrith

The Toffee Shop, Penrith

Join the musicians, film stars, royalty and politicians who’ve beaten a path to this shop over the years and come away with one of its trademark boxes - white, with gold edging and black lettering - of toffee or fudge. It’s a great present for Christmas. The fudge is hand made in small batches from butter, sugar and milk and comes in three flavours: butter, chocolate and mint. The butter or treacle toffee is made with sugar, butter and syrup or black treacle. Inside the shop, a dresser displays some of the packaging for places that The Toffee Shop supplies, including Fortnum and Mason, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.  www.thetoffeeshop.co.uk 

Eden Valley and the East

Bowness Bay Brewing

Bowness Bay Brewing

Celebrate Christmas and the ‘steamers’ on Windermere by raising a glass of Swift Best, named after MV Swift, or Swan Blonde, Swan Black and Swan Gold, all named after MV Swan. Swan Blonde was the first beer that Richard Husbands produced when in 2012 he turned his love of home brewing into a business. Fell Walker, Lakeland Blonde, Raven Red and Steamer IPA are four others in the ‘core range’. Initially based in the Winster Valley, the brewery moved to Kendal in 2014. Its brewery tap, a bar called The Barrel House, is next door. Buy online or from Cranstons, Lakeland Artisan, Booths and other places. www.bownessbaybrewing.co.uk

Kendal and the South

Ginger Bakers

Ginger Bakers

If you love cake and cosy then Ginger Bakers’ Luxury Brandy and Orange Mince Pies, Westmorland Pepper Fruit Cake or Lemon Pistachio and Ginger Blondie should do the trick this Christmas. The mince pies and blondie were both Great Taste Award winners in 2021 while the pepper cake was ‘highly commended’ by judges at 2020’s Great British Food Awards. Lisa Smith and her team produce cakes, tarts, loaf cakes and traybakes, so check the website for the full range. Tea/coffee and cake boxes are sold, plus subscriptions to the Ginger Bakers Cake Club. The shop at Plumgarths near Kendal is open. www.gingerbakers.co.uk

Kendal and the South

Hawkshead Relish, Hawkshead

Hawkshead Relish, Hawkshead

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without something from Hawkshead Relish on the table or under the tree. And there’s certainly plenty to choose from. Winner of about 80 Great Taste Awards, the family-owned business produces a range of some 120 different relishes, pickles, jams, ketchups and preserves. For Christmas, consider a range of gift boxes, bags and hampers, Christmas or Boxing Day chutney, cranberry relish, Cumberland sauce or the Petite Couture Christmas Gift Box with its three jars of chutney, marmalade and sauce. Buy online, at the shop in Hawkshead and at many other places in Cumbria and elsewhere. www.hawksheadrelish.com

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Three Hares Deli, Sedbergh

Three Hares Deli, Sedbergh

Expect a ‘selection of the finest artisan and farm reared produce’ from northern England at this deli, run by Nina Matsunaga and James Ratcliffe. The couple also have the Black Bull Inn which is across the road. The deli stocks a range of meat, game, cheese, bread, charcuterie, craft beer, organic wine, olive oil, miso, vinegar, pasta, granola, scarves, soaps, homemade meals and more. For Christmas, check out the hampers and the festive biscuit boxes. Cumbrian names include Thornby Moor Dairy cheese, Hesket Newmarket and Fell breweries, Carvetii coffee and Laura’s Loom. www.threeharesdeli.co.uk

Kendal and the South

Shed 1 Distillery, Ulverston

Shed 1 Distillery, Ulverston

Looking for a Fancy Frolic, a Giggle in the Ginnel or Shed Loads of Love this Christmas? Then head to this craft distillery in Ulverston and put the spirit into Christmas spirit. Zoe and Andy Arnold-Bennett produce a range of gins, including those named above, Festive Tipple, Chilli Fest and Cuckold’s Revenge, the latter receiving two stars at the Great Taste Awards 2017. Its Festive Bramble Gin Elixir was also shortlisted in the Great British Food Awards 2020. People can click and collect from the distillery shop - which sells gins, marmalades and gift vouchers - up to and including Christmas Eve. www.shed1distillery.com  

Kendal and the South

Eva’s Organics

Eva’s Organics

This is what the Danes might call ‘hygge’: feet up by the fireside and a bottled of mulled Eva’s Organics apple juice within easy reach. Green/ethical Business of the Year at the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2021, Eva’s Organics grew out of a home delivery fruit and vegetable box scheme, started in 2000 by Debbie and Mike Simpson. It’s their son, Robert, who turns surplus apples from hundreds of trees into ‘the freshest tasting product possible’. Three juices - Apple and Raspberry, Apple and Rhubarb and Apple and Ginger - were Great Taste Award winners in 2020. Buy online or check website for outlets. www.evasorganics.co.uk

Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

Parma Violet, Kirkby Lonsdale

Parma Violet, Kirkby Lonsdale

If it’s gifts or stocking fillers you’re after this Christmas, Parma Violet will leave you spoilt for choice. Julie Evans’ shop has one of the most eclectic and occasionally eccentric range of gifts, cards, toys, clothing, homeware, crafts and pet products of any place in Cumbria. Tintin merchandise is a big thing here but then so are cuddly toys, presents for pets, animal puppets, tote bags, scarves, jigsaws, rucksacks, wrist warmers, brooches, Herdwick wool insoles, candle tins and much more. A free Tintin shopping bag is given away when customers spend £50 or more online. www.parmaviolet.co.uk

Kendal and the South

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