Wales has more to offer than fish and chips

Many people that do not live in the UK often think that British food is nothing more than fish and chips and roast beef. They are unaware of the strong culinary traditions that exist in the many different regions and just how many nationalities exist in the British Isles. Many often think, for example, that England is Britain when England is only one of the different countries that make up the British Isles.

From England head west to Wales, the land of Song, where hearty food is the favoured choice of rugby players and hardworking farmers. Not that there are any miners mind you, since the closure of the mines took place in the 1980s.

There is, thankfully, an interest in traditional food and regional culture in the area. There are many new Welsh restaurants that have opened over the past ten years which have sparked a renewal of the food their forefathers relished.

Cawl is one of the Welsh kitchen’s traditions. It is a nutritious root vegetable and lamb stew. There are a number of different variations to the recipe but for the most part everyone agrees the best Cawl is started 48 hours before being served, giving time for the flavours to develop.

Cawl is often times served over two courses, with the stew being strained and served with bread as soup, and then the meat with vegetables comes out next. Many times enough is made for leftovers the next day with it tasting even better.

Another famous dish in Welsh cuisine is Laverbread which is not actually bread and has nothing to do with an Australian tennis great known as Rod. Laver is seaweed that is edible, washed so that no sand is remaining, and then cooked on the stove in a frying pan with some bacon fat and later served to accompany a fried breakfast. The dish is very high in iodine and other nutrients but is something of an acquired taste.

Bara Brith is a mix of a cake and fruited bread and by no means a lightweight sponge. It is heavy and dense and just a buttered slice will cure the most demanding of appetites. There are generally two versions made, one with yeast and the other without. In the 19th century, settlers took Bara Brith to Argentina and it is now their Torta Negra what we would call black cake, giving a reference to one of the ingredients – black tea.