For the first time, Jeannie’s Kitchen Garden is taking a little stall at the upcoming Cumbria Life Christmas Fair at Rheged Discovery Centre near Penrith on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November, 10am – 5pm on the Saturday and 10am – 4pm on the Sunday.
It’s a lovely event, with over 50 artisan makers showcasing the best the North has to offer with crafts, gifts, food, drink, clothing, accessories, tableware and much besides. In addition to the stalls selling their wares, there is a series of unusual and interesting workshops and demonstrations, many of which are free.
I know it’s easy to shop online but at Christmas one can start to panic a bit about buying the presents and too often we just hit the ‘add to basket’ rather hastily and perhaps a) spend too much money or b) select a present that’s frankly not really quite right for the recipient. This Fair is a very pleasant alternative, it’s easy to park, it’s sociable, there are places to eat and drink, it’s a visual treat and you’ll probably find presents that are a bit out of the ordinary and the recipient will know you really did put thought into choosing them.
I’ll be there with my full range of marmalades, jams and pickles, including my limited edition Festive Fig and Plum Chutney. As well as the figs and the plums, there are pears in there along with cinnamon, clove, chilli, ginger, dark Muscovado sugar, red onions and cider vinegar. It’s been maturing away for a month or so now, it’s as dark as night and quite delicious. Perfect for the cold cuts on Boxing Day (or any day at all for that matter). I’ve got some nice three-jar presentation boxes, customised for Christmas, you can mix and match across the range to create your bespoke trio of preserves.
My sister Mary and I went to the Fair last year and had a great time browsing the stalls; we went to a fabulous workshop on Christmas Cocktails by Helen Askew of the Tipsy Filly. Helen is a hoot, and she dreams up an amazing repertoire of wonderful cocktails for the Festive Season, Helen’s at the Fair again this year, I will hopefully be busy selling preserves, but you must go, she’s not one to miss. Sam Jary of Black Hand Wines in Penrith who specialises in organic and biodynamic wines is giving a talk which should be fascinating. Another one that catches my eye is the willow wreath-making workshop by Laura Tuer of Greenwheat Flowers of Penrith. Have a look on the Cumbria Life Christmas Fair website for full details of these talks and demonstrations, a lot of them are free.
I’m really looking forward to my first foray into a big event like this, it should be fun.