MINTFEST descends on Kendal this weekend and so in homage to the town’s peppermint-strong history, this week it’s all about those sharp, fresh-tasting green leaves.
With roots that date back to the Greeks - personified in Greek mythology even by a nymph by the name of Minthe was transformed into a mint plant - mint is a well-established herb used in almost all cuisines throughout the continents.
We know it best as something to eat, suck or chew, but it has also got a medicinal use.
Even today we reach for the peppermint tea when our stomach is turning, or we want to sleep, and let’s not forget brushing our teeth or washing with peppery strong menthol cosmetics.
Whether it’s tea, mojitos, yogurt, crumbly mint cake, mint sauce or jelly for lamb, chocolate or ice cream - my favourite - there’s something for everyone.
The most common way to use mint in savoury dishes is the firm English favourite of roasted lamb.
Marinate legs of lamb at £8.98 per kilo from William Peat, Sedbergh, in garlic, oil, lemon juice and butter and make a home made fresh mint sauce topping with mint leaves, wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
Or why not make minty lamb kofta skewers or mint lamb burgers with minced lamb at £7.91 per kilo.
Stay in Sedbergh to buy the essential ingredients from Powells Greengrocers.
They have pre-packed fresh mint at 85p which would be perfect with butter on their washed baby new potatoes at 99p per kilo, to with your roast lamb.
Grab a lb punnet of Scottish strawberries at £2.50 and whip up an impressive minty and fruity Pimms.
Head to Greenlands Farm Village, Carnforth, where they have Hawkshead Relish mint jelly at £3.59 per jar, perfect drizzled on any lamb dish.
Eat while you shop and treat yourself to a cone of English Lakes’ mint choc chip ice cream cone at £1.95.
If you’re pudding on a spread with kofta, minty yogurt dips and more, bulk out the offerings with sourdough from Kendal’s Staff of Life.
Choose between white basket-risen sourdough at £2.80 (tin-sized at £1.80) or their 100 per cent rye sourdough at £2.80.
Add a salad to the table using large Alburno mozzarella from Cartmel Cheese at £6.
Slice up the mozzarella and add tomatoes and peas and cobble together a rustic mint viniagrette for something fresh on the side.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, Ingleton’s Country Harvest has their own home made chocolate mint fudge at £1.95 for 100g as well as Windermere Ice Cream and Chocolate Company’s mint chocolate chip ice cream at £4.95 for 1L.
And for your after dinner mint head to Bowland Bridge Stores where they have traditional Romney’s mint imperials at 59p for 100g or Uncle Joe’s mint balls made in Wigton at £1.05 for 100g.