Cartmel: the Home of Sticky Toffee Pudding?

In February 2020, in Stockport Quiz League, we were asked "Which village with a racecourse and a Michelin–starred restaurant is known as the home of sticky toffee pudding". The answer given was Cartmel.

This was the first I'd heard of such a claim, so of course I had to decide whether to put it on this website or not.

Naturally I turned to Wikipedia, and on the Cartmel page I read that 'The village has ... become known as the "home of sticky toffee pudding".' But there was no citation; so what, if anything, lies behind the claim?

Wikipedia's Sticky Toffee Pudding page doesn't even mention Cartmel; what it does say is that the said sweet treat was served at the Sharrow Bridge Hotel, on the shores of Ullswater (some 25 miles from Cartmel) in the 1970s. But the story doesn't even end there; the chef at the Sharrow Bridge apparently got the recipe from "a Patricia Martin of Claughton in Lancashire", who "had published the recipe in a compilation that later became The Good Food Guide Dinner Party Book, and first served the dish at her country hotel. [The Sharrow Bridge]'s recipe only differs from Martin's in the sauce. According to her son, Martin originally got the recipe from two Canadian air force officers who had lodged at her hotel during the Second World War. According to [the food critic who was told about Patricia Martin by the chef at the Sharrow Bridge], this Canadian origin makes sense, as the pudding uses a batter more akin to that of an American muffin, rather than an English sponge."

So where, if anywhere, does Cartmel come in?

My next step was to google "cartmel sticky", and I was directed to the website of Cartmel Village Shop, which goes on at great length about how much people love their sticky toffee puddings, which they've been baking for "a good 20 years". (Not since the 1970s then.) You can, apparently, "also get them in independent fine food shops across the country, as well as in Booths, Selfridges, Waitrose, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason."

I may be wrong, but I can't help wondering whether it was someone from the Village Shop that put the line on Wikipedia about Cartmel having become known as the home of sticky toffee pudding. Call me a cynic, but at this point in time there is not enough evidence to persuade me to post Cartmel's claim on my website.

© Haydn Thompson 2020