Five tasty teatime treats to celebrate St David’s Day
St David’s Day is fast approaching, and though we can’t visit our neighbours across the border on 1st March, there are many ways to celebrate Welsh culture without leaving the house. Given that this national event is also known as the Feast of St David, it feels fitting to commemorate the day by enjoying some regional delicacies. We’ve compiled some of our favourite treats – either try your hand at some traditional recipes or order in for an authentic foodie experience.
No afternoon spread is complete without a Welsh cake. Also known within Wales as bakestones – named after the cast-iron griddle upon which they are traditionally cooked – these teatime treats, passed down for generations, remain as popular as ever. Despite being flavoured with currants and mixed spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and often coated with caster sugar, they are not as sweet as your typical cake and can be served both hot or cold. Follow the recipe below from Abergavenny-based bakery owner Kathryn Gunter.
Perhaps the country’s most beloved savoury dish, Welsh rarebit is a masterclass in cheese on toast. Rather than simply grilling some bread with some cheddar on top, this recipe traditionally involves mixing the cheese with butter, milk, flour, Worcester sauce, mustard and ale to produce a hearty upgrade. Methods vary from chef to chef, and you can mix up the bread dependent on your preference – we recommend a crusty sourdough and mature Welsh cheddar. Check out London cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield’s rarebit recipe.
If you’re partial to both bread and cake but can’t manage on your own, opt for a loaf of bara brith, which offers the best of both worlds. Sliced up at teatime with a generous helping of butter, this yeastless bread is enriched with fruit and flavoured with tea and spices, giving it an almost cake-like richness and consistency. If you don’t fancy making it yourself, check out the Rhug Estate’s online shop. This organic farm in North Wales source all their produce locally, including this handcrafted tea bread from Tu Hwnt I’r Bont in Llanrwst.
Ok, this isn’t a Celtic classic, but bear with us. To celebrate St David’s Day, Brat, the award-winning restaurant from Tomos Parry, will open for a weekend-long pop-up shop serving their celebrated woodfired baked Basque-inspired cheesecake, made using organic produce from Tomos’s native Wales, including dairy from Calon Wen in Pembrokeshire, sheep’s curd from the Cosyn Cymru farm on the foothills of Snowdonia and flour milled at Felin Ganol in West Wales. Pre-order for pickup or London delivery on the 27th or 28th February.
Given the Welsh’s reputation for great dairy, you may want to let it take centre stage with a proper cheeseboard. For a tangy cheddar you could opt for a Snowdonia variety such as the popular Black Bomber, or go for a crumbly Caerphilly instead. Lovers of blue cheese might enjoy Perl Lars, or if you’re inclined towards softer varieties, go for Angiddy, made in the Wye valley and ripened in a similar way to Brie or Camembert. Alternatively, order a Taster Box from the Welsh Cheese Company for local variety without the carbon footprint.
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