Gourmet Cumbria: The Big Six


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The Independent Online

Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside

Pitched amid the sloping green of the Lake District fells, this alluringly named bolthole is perfect for weekenders who want to absorb the craggy beauty of Cumbria’s scenery, but still want their palates pleased. Several rooms proffer views towards the Great and Little Langdale valleys – yet guests will also find themselves looking inwards to a restaurant that deals in intriguing dishes, such as curried cod with onion bhaji (£15), and a bar that pulls pints of the inn’s home-brewed beers, including the award-winning Red Bull Terrier.
Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside (01539 436347; drunkenduckinn.co.uk). Double rooms from £105 per night, including breakfast.

Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley
Founded in Hawkshead in 2002, this awardwinning brewery is now based in nearby Staveley, with "gcore beers" including Windermere  Pale, Hawkshead Bitter and Lakeland Gold. Brewery tours of the hi-tech operation take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 2pm and cost £6.50 per person, including a pint or (two halves) for you to sample. You can also visit the adjacent Beer Hall, kitchen and shop . a stylish, modern showcase for real ale . or get into the spirit properly with the Spring Beer Festival (14.16 March) and summer festival (17-20 July).
Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley (01539 822644; hawksheadbrewery.co.uk).

The Samling, Near Windermere
Gastronomy on high awaits those who flit to the east side of Lake Windermere, where the Samling is a near-literal rising star of Cumbrian cuisine – it has been handed its first gold mark of culinary glory in the 2014 Michelin guide. Chef Ian Swainson crafts dishes such as roast grouse with foie gras and cauliflower-and-prune purée, and a five-course dinner costs from £65 per person. Diners can retire upstairs after their feast to one of the Samling's 11 rooms.
The Samling, near Windermere (01539 431922; thesamlinghotel.co.uk). Double rooms from £300 per night, with a package of dinner, bed and breakfast.

Thornby Moor Dairy, Crofton
Tucked away eight miles south-west of Carlisle near Crofton, this family-run purveyor of milkbased morsels is known for the quality of its cheeses, with its Curthwaite . a smooth goatmilk variety . earning recent awards. Visitors can take a quiet peek at the creative procedure when the dairy is at work on weekdays (9am.5.30pm. Doors are also open to the public on Saturdays, 10am-5pm, but closed on Sundays), and buy a block or three of cracker complements in the shop . perhaps the Crofton, which blends cow and goat milk.
Thornby Moor Dairy, Crofton (01697 345555; thornbymoordairy.co.uk).

Festival of Food Kendal
This pretty market town will witness a flurry of edible enticements later this month when the annual Kendal Festival of Food (29-30 March) sets stomachs rumbling. The Great North Country Food Market will dominate proceedings, filling Stricklandgate and Finkle Street with everything from marmalades and chutneys to gingerbread and artisan cheeses. But visitors will also have a chance to indulge in a current British obsession via a bake-off.
Kendal Food Festival (01539 725133; kendalfestivaloffood.co.uk). Day tickets from £8, weekend tickets from £15 (when bought in advance).

Yew Tree Farm, Coniston
Huddled just north of Coniston Water, Yew Tree Farm has been a part of Lake District life since the 17th century. Famous for its connections to Beatrix Potter, it thrives nowadays as a producer of organic meats through its Heritage Foods business (heritagefoods.co.uk). Guests can stay in self-catering farmhouse quarters – and use the dining room where the great lady once ate.
Yew Tree Farm, Coniston (01539 441433; yewtree-farm.com). A seven-night selfcatering break in May costs from £948.

For more details see golakes.co.uk; or head to this useful shortcut to the transport section: bit.ly/GoLakes