Starting to plan a holiday to beautiful Wales? What the country may lack regarding size, it certainly makes up for in its stunning landscape and delicious produce. Wales has an array of fantastic national dishes and some of the best bakeries you will find in the entire UK. Below we give you a brief guide to the food you shouldn’t leave Wales without trying:
Driving etymologists mad for centuries, the dish was initially known as Welsh rabbit, yet at no point did it ever contain any rabbit meat whatsoever! Regarded as a Welsh national dish it is, in fact, the world’s finest cheese on toast. Chefs have been tampering and perfecting this dish for years; the thickness of the bread, the exact metal and temperature to cook it on, paprika or not? We advise trying to make it yourself with the wonderfully flavoured-filled beer and mustard cheese, Y Fenni (a wonderful cheese from Abergavenny) instead of using the usual sharp cheddar or even add an egg on the top for that French treatment. However, if you want to try it professionally made, cafés up and down the country often have a variation of rarebit on their menu for visitors to try!
Image credit: Dog Street Pub
As it isn’t spring, quality Welsh lamb isn’t available in shops and butchers. However, you can find mutton or imported lamb variants to use in this traditional dish. Lamb cawl is a Welsh dish that is similar to a soup or broth. Ingredients usually are lamb, leek, potatoes, swedes, carrots and seasonal vegetables. Lamb cawl is considered to be the national dish of Wales and was traditionally eaten during the winter months, and a vegetable variation made without the meat is called cawl cennin. An easy recipe to make, we highly recommend cooking it yourself when staying at your North Wales holiday homes this coming autumn. We also suggest serving it with crusty bread topped with Caerphilly cheese and a pint of Welsh ale.
Often debated as to how the humble leek became an emblem for Wales, this vegetable is often seen worn in miniature form on the lapels of fine Welsh folk during St. David’s Day. It is often said that St. David used to only eat leeks during his fasting periods, while others say that the Welsh warriors used to wear them on their helmets to help distinguish themselves from the enemy. Stories of origin aside, the wholesome leek doesn’t get enough attention these days. This subtly sweet vegetable is incredibly versatile and shouldn’t just be used as a base for stocks or sauces, as there are loads of recipes to try using tasty Welsh leeks from pies, curries, savoury crumbles to poaching or pickling them! Let us know how you like to have your leeks via our social channels!
Laver is an edible seaweed, and in Wales used to make the traditional dish of laverbread. It is often regarded as a ‘like it or leave it’ dish, and made by boiling the laver for several hours then mincing or pureeing it. This paste can be sold as it is, or rolled in oatmeal before frying meaning the ‘bread’ part is rather misleading! Laverbread is often eaten in accompaniment to cockles and mussels and has a strong salty taste to remind you of the taste. It was once described as ‘Welshman’s caviar’ by Welsh actor Richard Burton and is a luxury item on restaurant menus.
Here in North Wales in the fishing village of Conwy, mussels are grown and harvested naturally from the water where the River Conwy meets the Irish Sea; this means the fresh and salty seawaters combine with nutrients to grow these plump amber mussels. The sea beds are regulated well and the tradition of only eating the mussels during the months that end with an ‘r’ is maintained, meaning a holiday to North Wales in autumn means you will be able to get your hands on some delicious local seafood. The mussel industry has been around for over one hundred years in Conwy, and the mussels you can buy from local seafood sellers or the shop on Conwy Quay are more abundant and have a higher meat content than those you can find in a supermarket.
Read below to see a favourite recipe to try when staying in our holiday homes for sale North Wales delicacy – creamy pasta with Conwy mussels.
Pre-cook the mussels by steaming them in a large pan. Remember to discard any mussels if the shells don’t close before cooking and those that don’t open after cooking.
Place half a glass of white wine with the double cream and a pinch of turmeric into a pan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to the boil then let it simmer for three to four minutes.
Cook the pasta as advised then add it, along with the mussels, to the sauce and simmer for a further three minutes to make sure the mussels are warmed through.
Serve in a pasta bowl, topped with fresh chopped chives and garlic bread.