A Food Fun Travel Guest Post
When in Wales, do as the Welsh do. Not so difficult in this beautiful, mountainous land of castles, dragons, and sparkling dark skies, especially when it comes down to the delicious traditional dishes. Handed down from generation to generation, these stoic hearty foods have stood the test of time and are still popular today with both locals and visitors.
Here we take a look at eight of the best Welsh foods to try on your next trip to Wales:
The Welsh Cake
When it’s cold outside and all you want to do is comfort eat, curled up next to a roaring log fire, the Welsh Cake is your best bet. Crumbly and fluffy, and dotted with juicy fruit throughout, this griddle-baked delight is best eaten warm, with a dusting of icing sugar. If you can find a recipe that has been handed down by many a generation, then keep it close to your heart – original recipes are well- guarded secrets. The sugar on top is said to symbolize the snow-topped mountain peaks of Snowdonia and its highest mountain, Mount Snowdon – you can’t refuse one now you know that.
The Humble Leek
It may not taste like much on its own, but stirred into hearty casseroles and winter stews, this cousin of the onion is a valuable vegetable addition to any dish. Known more famously as the national emblem of Wales, it actually originates from Central Asia and later rose to fame on the battlefield, when Welsh soldiers were told to put leeks in their hats to distinguish them from the enemy. If you like your leeks in a creamy soup, the famous leek and potato is a no brainer – just serve with some thick crusty bread and lashings of butter and you’ve got yourself a lovely farmhouse lunch.
Sadly passed over by many, who mistake this tasty dish for something seen in Fatal Attraction, the traditional Welsh Rarebit is actually a variation of melted cheese on toast! The proper way of making it is to melt the cheese with butter, mustard, ale or wine and pour it straight onto slices of toasted or fried bread. Definitely one for nights in though be warned, it has been reported to induce some pretty strange dreams!
Again, one that confuses non-native folk, this isn’t a trendy type of bread, but an edible seaweed picked from the waters of the west coast of Britain and east coast of Ireland. Once described by Richard Burton as ‘Welshman’s caviar’, it can be eaten boiled and pureed or rolled in oatmeal and fried. Have it as part of a traditional Welsh fry-up, with bacon, eggs, and even cockles. That’s one sure-fire way to put hair on your chest!
Meat lovers look away now – this tasty fried sausage is actually a vegetarian option, made so by the need to use up leftover food when meat was scarce rather than for ethical reasons. Whip up this dish by throwing in cheese (sadly you won’t get the local Glamorgan cheese anymore but try the creamy Caerphilly or a Welsh cheddar), leeks and breadcrumbs, and serve with salad or the traditional accompaniment of creamed potatoes or chips. You could say it slightly resembles a croquette – more so if you add potatoes; saying this may get you in trouble, however, so keep quiet if you’re around Glamorgan sausage purists.
Pretty much assumed the national dish of Wales, this chunky and colourful Welsh broth is a real winter-wonder. Made from Welsh lamb, salted meat (bacon or beef), potatoes, swede, cabbage, leeks and any other vegetable you have to hand, you’ll find many variations depending on season and region, not to mention family tradition. If you’re in North Wales, ask for ‘lobsgows’, though make sure you practice your pronunciation beforehand, so you don’t end up with a completely different dish. Enjoy with chunks of homemade bread and a slab of Welsh cheese.
This lovely loaf may look like chocolate brioche, but don’t be fooled. The name means ‘mottled bread’ and it is actually referred to as ‘speckled bread’ outside of Wales. No matter. While not as sweet as you may have hoped, it still packs a punch at any afternoon tea. Packed full of currants, cranberries, and candied orange peel, this spicy delight is best served buttered and warm alongside a steaming pot of tea and a good book.
Affectionately known as ‘the crumblies’, due to its easily crumbling structure, this delicious hard white cheese, made from unpasteurised cow’s milk, was originally thought to have been made as sustenance for the local coal miners, as its tough texture and shallow height were easy to eat with bare hands. Often used as an alternative to Glamorgan cheese in the veggie Glamorgan sausage, it is also traditionally grated or melted onto dishes and is best accompanied by a good white burgundy.
If you fancy a trip to try out some of these Welsh wonders, why not book a holiday cottage as a base to sample some of these delights? Check out these cottages in Wales for inspiration.