Eat Your Way Through This Foodies Village in England

Darley filming at Cartmel's Village Shop for sticky toffee pudding
Darley filming at Cartmel's Village Shop for sticky toffee pudding

I could have stayed at Cartmel Cheeses all afternoon! From some of the world’s best sticky toffee pudding to a restaurant with two Michelin Stars, the Medieval village of Cartmel in England’s southern Lake District, has food covered. Locals and travelers that frequent this beautiful little village are big on cuisine. See what you can discover when you eat your way through Cartmel.

#1 Sticky Toffee Pudding Dessert first? Why not!
Stop by the Cartmel Village Shop, a family-owned store that’s been making sticky toffee pudding for over 25 years. Sticky toffee pudding is a dessert staple that you’ll find on the menu in many British restaurants. At the Cartmel Village Shop, it’s super buttery and sweet.

Owner Sarah Holliday let me in on what makes it so addictive. “The main thing is the dates, which gives it a real stickiness. Free range eggs, dark sugar, lots of butter and then for the sauce, which is the ultimate, which goes on the top, you’ve just got butter, sugar and cream… and lots of it,” said Holliday. You can buy it in the shop and take it with you as you walk through this quaint village.

While at the Cartmel Village Shop, you may also discover great culinary items to bring back home, including jams, chutneys, sweets, chocolates and other unique gifts.

#2 Cheese, Glorious Cheese
Next, stop by Cartmel Cheeses, a family-owned business where you can choose from between 40 to 50 cheeses all created by smaller artisan producers from mostly Great Britain and Ireland. You’ll want to try more than a few of the raw milk and small batch productions on display here. I tried St. James from Holker Farm Dairy and a washed-rind sheep’s cheese, with a farm-y bite to it. Their most popular cheese… Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire.

Cartmel is rich in farmland and many of the farmers are diversifying into different products, including artisanal cheeses. This helps them make a better return for their milk yield. Cartmel Cheeses aren’t just showing up in the village shop, you can also find them in local restaurants, including L’Enclume, which has been awarded two Michelin stars and is a destination in itself. After you enjoy cheese tasting, consider stepping just across the yard to Unsworth’s Yard, a small craft brewery.

Trying a few cheeses in Cartmel. Yum!
Trying a few cheeses in Cartmel. Yum!

#3 Michelin Star Restaurant L’Enclume
Make a reservation well in advance to dine at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume. People make pilgrimages to this small village just to dine on the Cumbrian countryside cuisine here. While we were filming at this restaurant, local growers were bringing in fresh vegetables and other hand-picked ingredients. I tried the local beef shorthorn made in charcoal oil with spicey mustard apples and celery, flavors that truly complemented each other and put an entirely new spin on BBQ flavored meat. I also tried something a bit unusual– oyster pebbles. They consisted of apple meringues filled with oyster cream, so light and airy it dissolved in my mouth and careened around my tongue. The restaurant itself has a sleek, yet relaxed feel that matches the setting of this quintessentially quaint village where food is king.

Gourmet BBQ at L'Enclume
Gourmet BBQ at L’Enclume

Look for our segment on Cartmel in our “England: Manchester, Liverpool & the Lake District” PBS episode, now also re-broadcasting on Create TV and available on Amazon Prime. 


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