Grasmere Gingerbread has been a much loved tasty treat for people in the Lake District for nearly 170 years.

However, it is its high profile overseas which has earned it this year’s Flying the Flag for Cumbria award.

Visitors from all over the world travel to the historic Grasmere Gingerbread Shop to savour its historic ambience. As a culinary and cultural ambassador for the Lake District, the reputation of Grasmere Gingerbread travels far and wide and physically flies the flag for Cumbria via its distinctive Victorian trademark that adorns its famous parchment wrapping and bags. Every week hundreds of parcels are mailed out to customers in the UK and to countries around the world which further advances its reputation.

The business regularly takes part in campaigns and initiatives to promote the area, including a trade mission to India and the Winter Fancy Food Festival in San Francisco.

Throughout the year, Grasmere Gingerbread attends food festivals and shows throughout the country and gives talks to 150-plus audiences across the North West and North East of England. It also takes a ‘pop-up’ shop to out of county destinations and is often featured on TV.

The judges said the company’s contribution to putting Cumbria on the global map was “phenomenal”. They added: “Their business is their passion in being Cumbrian and promoting our region, both in what they do, and how they understand, honour and protect the heritage of the brand. It is also in their partnerships with have with local makers.

Sarah Nelson’s original shop by the church is Grasmere is the only place in the world you can buy the famous gingerbread… and oh how they come in their numbers to for their piece. Not to mention the thousands of customers on mail order around the world. The care they have in their responsibility as the current “custodians” of the brand is undeniable. Well done!”

Joanne Hunter, who is co-director of the business alongside husband Andrew, said: "We are thrilled and amazed to get the award, but it's not just for us, of course, it's for everybody who works at the business. It is a family business and the team are very much an extension of the family,” she said. “Even though we're growing, the actual business itself is physically quite small and intimate and those personal relationships are very important. Those personal relationships happen internally, but externally as well. We have a real connection with our customers around the world and correspond with them personally. It’s one of the things that makes the business unique and special.”

Runners up:

Buildabundle Ltd

Carlisle Ambassadors