Grasmere Gingerbread

by David Murray on 21 December 2009

in Food, Grasmere, Shopping

Next to the entrance into Grasmere village churchyard is an old house.  It was once a schoolhouse but in 1854 Wilfred and Sarah Nelson moved in with their family of two daughters, and this became the home of Grasmere Gingerbread.

Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Sarah was at this time in her late-thirties, and had been employed in a number of wealthy homes in the kitchens.  It was in one of these that she had experimented with her recipe for gingerbread and brought it to perfection.

During the second half of the nineteenth century  not only did Lake District tourism grow in general terms but more specifically the flow of visitors to Grasmere increased enormously following the death of the poet William Wordsworth.  The Wordsworth family graves became a place of literary pilgrimage, and for fifty years Sarah supplied a growing clientele with her unique gingerbread until she died in the early years of the twentieth century.

Today, more than one and  a half centuries later, Grasmere Gingerbread is still made to Sarah Nelson’s original recipe, a closely guarded secret, and is sold from the same house by the entrance to Grasmere village churchyard to its many thousands of visitors every year.  I suspect that Sarah, for all her belief in her unique formula, would have been astonished to know the number of countries in the world to which her gingerbread has travelled.

Be Sociable, Share!
Benenvolent January 21, 2013 at 03:06

I love this stuff and always look forawrd to my parents bringing some back from the lakes on their twice yearly trips. Much nicer than getting some Kendal mint cake (the Keswick variety is much nicer anyway), and not bad for a quick energy boost when you’re halfway up a mountain.Just by itself, or served with custard, it’s lovely stuff. I reckon it would be great as a base of a cheese-cake, but somehow it’s just too good to not be enjoyed exactly as it comes out of the wrapper.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: