From a base on the West Cumbrian coast, the Yvonne Gainford’s Cumberland range was launched in Autumn 2015. Concentrating on luxurious fillings for pies and puds, our recipes have been adapted from those created in ‘Cumberland’ over 200 years ago.
It all began with a tart called Cumberland Rum Nicky filled with a heady blend of spice and fruit from the West Indies and Jefferson’s Rum from Whitehaven Our modern day recipe has been developed to create a ‘Nicky Mix’ – it’s a taste of nostalgic Cumberland heritage in a jar.
Our range is made the ‘Yvonne Gainford Cumberland’ way, sticking to tradition, never compromising on quality and making the most of the ingredients and flavours around.
Who’s Yvonne Gainford?
Hello, I’m Yvonne.
Running my own personal chef service for many years, I originally trained as a yacht chef and have been lucky enough to cater on glamorous boats as well as five star holiday homes. I love my Cumbrian roots and being based in the Lake District allows me to cook for house parties in holiday homes and gave me the time to develop my nostalgic range of ‘Cumberland’ inspired food.
Experimenting and updating Cumberland recipes, they’d appear on the dinner menu and guests would often ask for instructions how to make them – especially the Cumberland Rum Nicky Cheesecake. It spurred me on to launch my own range – Yvonne Gainford’s Cumberland.
I’ve always had a fondness for traditional recipes, but the one I love most is the Cumberland Rum Nicky – a tart made with pastry and rich fruit filling. It’s very reminiscent of my childhood when I helped Grandma make the deliciously sweet treat. It was quite the Christmas tradition, mixing the fruit and spices, adding a huge splash of rum, then watching Grandma roll out the pastry on the cold sandstone shelf in the larder.
I still have the recipe book today, it’s very precious and my most treasured possession, not only because it was handed down, but because it contains so many traditional Cumberland recipes.
Creating a range of luxury fillings for pies and puds, I had to launch the range with a Cumberland Rum Nicky mix and it’s based on Grandma’s recipe. She was very inventive, only buying one bottle of rum a year, so when she ran out of rum, she used tea in her ‘Nicky’s instead. It tasted different but still ever so good. That became the second product we launched.
Inheriting Grandma’s creative genes, I love being inventive with my cooking and have lots more ideas to add to the range, but to make sure it’s absolutely right, I’m taking one step at a time. The newest product is in the bowl and looking good so far.
The history of Rum Nicky is closely connected to the success of Whitehaven and its port and you can quickly get caught up in the romance and fairy-tale of the Cumberland Rum Nicky story. Its origins go way back to the 1780s when the Jefferson family started to import demerara sugar, fruit and rum from Jamaica. Their ships sailed to Whitehaven where they were successful merchants.
There’s myth to how Cumberland Rum Nicky was named. It is said that sailors ‘nicked’ the rum to preserve fruit on the boat, others say it comes from the nicks in the top of the tart to let the steam out, who can be sure, but we prefer the sailors tale.
The Rum Story in Whitehaven is the home of Jefferson’s 1785 Rum. Today it is an interactive museum which relives the history of the Jefferson family business. Set in the original 1785 shop, courtyards, cellars and bonded warehouses of the Jefferson family, it offers an authentically designed step back in history and an education on sugar, spice and life in the West Indies.