A Cumbrian farmer will host a masterclass with a difference at the 2017 Taste Cumbria food festival in Cockermouth.
Maria Benjamin, from Dodgson Wood at Nibthwaite Grange Farm, Coniston, will use the farm’s Jersey milk to make soap with a recipe so rich and creamy, she thinks participants may never need to buy moisturiser again.
Maria is one of a host of experts sharing their knowledge at the 2017 Taste Cumbria Festival. The hands-on masterclass experiences are always popular, as visitors learn from some of the county’s best producers.
The masterclasses, which will be held in Cockermouth Kitchen Company in Market Place on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, will also feature nutritionist Sarah Kekus, from Cockermouth, cocktail maker Helen Askew, aka Tipsy Filly, from Carlisle, and Andy Walsh, from The Coffee Kitchen in Cockermouth, with more names to be announced.
Maria, who has an artistic background and latterly worked for Grizedale Arts, has been making her own soap for a number of years.
She said: “I’m excited to be playing a part in this year’s Taste Cumbria festival. I’m a regular visitor to Cockermouth as I exhibit rare breed Castlemilk Moorit sheep at the annual Woolfest exhibition, but this is the first time I’ve been sharing my recipes for soap.
“I’m a huge fan of natural products, using sustainable ingredients that can be hard to find in high street cosmetics. That’s why I started making my own! I experiment with loads of different ingredients to give the soap its colour and fragrance, and everyone who’s used it, including many other farmers, says their skin has never felt more comfortable and healthy.
“The soap making is just one of our diversification initiatives here at the farm at Nibthwaite. We’re producing our own wool too, from a variety of different fleeces, all under the Dodgson Wood brand.
“It’s all about keeping things as natural as possible. We specialise in rare breeds and conservation grazing because we want to protect the land which gives us our livelihood and sustain it for generations to come.”
This year’s Taste Cumbria festival kicks off on Friday, September 22 with a comedy night and beer festival at Jennings Brewery, hosted by Tractor Shed Brewing of Workington, and a Secret Gin Garden in the private garden of Castlegate House Gallery on Friday evening and during Saturday. Shed 1 Gin of Ulverston and Tipsy Filly will mix up cocktails, with canapés from Shill’s of Cockermouth.
All day Saturday and Sunday, there will be a huge producers’ market on Main Street, plus a hot food court and children’s entertainment in Market Place and a Prosecco Picnic at the top of Lowther Went, next to Wilko.
In Cumbria’s most exclusive dining experience, Kevin Tickle, of The Forest Side at Grasmere, will cook for just 32 guests at Wordsworth House and Garden. Tickets for this have already sold out.
Places for the masterclasses, Secret Gin Garden and comedy night are limited. Tickets are available to book online at www.tastecumbria .com or by calling 01228 612000.