Wales. The mysterious land west of England—of dragons, castles, lofty mountains, and tender lamb.
People make a beeline for Wales for a myriad of reasons, and one of them is to eat. Why? Wales is all about homely comfort food and quality meat, dairy, and seafood. A verdant and ripe country perfect for passionate cooks—of which Wales has many.
When visiting Wales here are 9 classic Welsh foods you must try.
Or “speckled bread”. This is its literal translation into English, although it doesn’t sound anywhere near as poetic or appealing.
Bara Brith is Wales’ answer to fruit cake, made with tea, dried currants, and mixed spices. It’s a dense, rich loaf taking a while to make—due to fermentation. When done right, it’s lovely.
How is it served? The traditional way is slathered with butter, alongside a cup of tea in the afternoon.
Are they not giant spring onions?
You needn’t visit Wales to experience the humble leek. But, it’s interesting to know leeks are one of Wales’ national symbols.
It’s said that St David ordered his soldiers to strap leeks to their helmets, to identify themselves whilst fighting Saxons in a leek field (meanwhile in the 6th Century). This eccentric piece of folklore is solidified in Welsh identity.
Odd and smart in equal measure.
It’s not toasted over an active volcano, nor is it bread. It’s seaweed, served with bread or as part of another dish. Laverbread is also known as “Welsh Caviar” and considered a delicacy.
In Welsh culture seaweed has been harvested since ancient times—with the variety Porphyra umbilicalis being favoured the most. This is boiled for a long time and blended to give a paste.
Laverbread is commonly eaten in South Wales, sometimes cold and sometimes hot. Its taste has been compared to spinach, only stronger.
It wouldn’t be a Welsh food list without lamb. Jokers might jest Wales has more sheep than people. Surprisingly, they’re spot on. There are over 10 million sheep in Wales, three times the number of people.
Jokes aside, if you’ve visited, you’ll know in some areas it’s simply too steep for other animals.
With such a numerous sheep population Wales has some of the best lamb to be found anywhere in the world. Whether it’s aged salt marsh lamb with a luxurious and intense taste or lamb neck slow cooked until falling apart in a delicious Welsh Cawl.
These mouth-watering little cakes have been a part of Welsh society since the 19th Century. Simple to make, and completely moreish—a common feature of daily Welsh life.
Traditionally they are made with flour, butter or lard, currents, eggs, milk, and fried on a bakestone, a type of griddle. Sometimes they are served buttered or with jam, however, unlike scones this is not expected.
What Welsh cheese must you always eat with caution? Caerphilly.
On the contrary, Caerphilly is a crumbly, creamy cheese popular all over the UK. It was originally created as dependable food source for Welsh coal miners. A wedge of Caerphilly is perfect on a cracker and washed down with some ale.
Putting two of the other choices on this list to use, Glamorgan Sausages are very Welsh, and very tasty.
Simply, they are vegetarian sausages made with leek and Caerphilly cheese. This sounds drab, but when seasoned correctly…lush.
If you enjoy the classic moules frites you’ll know how disappointing it is when the mussels are puny and lack flavour. These are probably intensively farmed, rope grown mussels.
Conwy mussels are rich, meaty, and much larger than their ropey counterparts—because they’ve been hand raked from the ocean bed where they naturally form.
This is a rare practice, with superior results, and far more ecologically friendly than dredging. The Conwy Mussels Company has been doing it the old way for 200 years and might just have the tastiest, biggest mussels in the whole of the UK.
Wales’ national dish. Some call it posh cheese on toast. They would be right.
Welsh Rarebit varies, although the basic recipe is to cover toast with a bechamel sauce, made with mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper (sometimes), and ale (sometimes). Then cheese is grated or sliced on top. Finally, it’s popped under the grill.
The origins of Welsh Rarebit are hazy, however what’s known, is it’s been a Welsh staple for almost 300 years. Long may it reign; it’s easy to make, not pretentious and can be enjoyed by all. A true national dish.
Fresh Welsh produce meets two AA Rosette excellence. Our restaurant at The Great House in Laleston is a celebration of good food.
What a location too. A beautiful 15th Century house in a quiet market town, amongst the gentle South Wales countryside.
If you’re a foodie you’ll love it, if you’re not a foodie you’ll love it.