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Bells of Lazonby, Grasmere Gingerbread and Hawkshead Relish make finals of Cumbria Family Business Awards

Cumbria is renowned as a foody haven, and with so many well-loved food and drink producers creating innovative and frankly delicious treats for the nation this was one of the most hotly-contested categories of the Cumbria Family Business Awards. The judges had some difficulty in choosing their three finalists here, come and meet them…

We are an established Cumbrian Family Bakery with a taste for quality, having created delicious products for over 70 years. Our highly-skilled and long-serving bakers produce beautiful cakes, tarts, muffins and artisan breads, for both retail and food service channels. As part of our innovative and flexible approach to baking, our company is divided into three unique brands. Bells of Lazonby is our parent brand providing exceptional baked delights to our North West Region including Booths stores. Our We Love Cake brand produces free-from treats, all made and hand-finished in our gluten, wheat and dairy free bakery. Our third brand, The Village Bakery Melmerby delivers a 100% organic range of expertly crafted rye breads and oatcakes to national health stores & wholesalers. We are also very proud to offer a full range of baked goods to our loyal customers under private label, including national retailers and large food service providers.



Grasmere Gingerbread® is unique and one of Cumbria’s most iconic foodstuffs. A delicious spicy-sweet cross between a biscuit and a cake, it was invented by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson in 1854. When she died in 1904 the business was taken over by her two great nieces, establishing a lasting family tradition. In the 1930s Grasmere Gingerbread was acquired by current owner Joanne Hunter’s family. Today, along with husband Andrew, and their daughter Yasmine – who ensures a remarkable fourth generation succession – Grasmere Gingerbread’s family legacy is safe. “Our family’s commitment to Sarah Nelson’s original Victorian values of quality, originality and putting the product and customer first is at the heart of everything we do,” said Joanne. Still made fresh every day, the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is the ONLY place in the world where you can buy Grasmere Gingerbread®. Customers include celebrity chefs, Hollywood actors and TV stars. It is exported across the world.


Maria and Mark set up the Hawkshead Relish Company back in 1999, as part of the café they were running in Hawkshead, but it was the events of 2001 in the Foot & Mouth crisis that made them diversify from the café into the Relishes as the main source for the business. Backed by a supportive bank manager and a belief that using top quality ingredients, Mark created the recipes making the Relishes as a home cook would do, without using, gluten, preservatives, colourings or flavourings, and this is still the mantra that they work by today. The pans have increased in size over the years, making on average 5,000 jars a day still by hand, their daughters now both also work in the business which employs around 26 all local people, as Maria says, “the whole team at Relish are part of our family, we care about them all dearly”.

Good luck to all our finalists, one of them will be crowned the winner of Food and Drink Producer category at the Cumbria Family Business Awards on Friday 10th March. Good luck! #CFBA2017 #WeAreCumbria

Our Sponsors

A huge thank you to all our sponsors for the Cumbria Family Business Awards 2018