By Lauren Ryan
When most people think of Wales, the initial thoughts that spring to mind are the likes of the countryside, rugby and the Welsh language. Yet, one thing that is very much known to a Welsh native is that Wales is not just the land of poetry and songs, it also has a beautiful and unique cuisine.
Traditional welsh food, unlike other nations’ recipes, are not ones that derive from upper-class dinner tables. Instead, they come from times of hardship and poverty as resources and ingredients were limited, due to Wales’ infertile land and unpredictable weather. Poor families had to make use of what they had, which is how Bara Brith was invented as people had to create meals out of leftover dough.
If you’re unaware of the traditional Welsh recipes, here’s a little background for you: Cawl is a traditional broth made from fresh vegetables and Welsh lamb. Rarebit is simply Welsh-sourced cheese on toast; many years ago, meat was always a luxury item and poor civilians in Wales resorted to eating cheese and bread and it soon became a part of the traditional cuisine. Bara Brith is the term for boiled fruit cake and always makes a classic appearance on a dessert menu when dining out in Wales. Lastly, a more peculiar native recipe is laverbread. It’s made from edible seaweed and is most commonly found around the West coasts of Britain, hence its status as a Welsh favourite. Finally, the most famous and commonly known traditional Welsh food is the loveable welsh cake. Made from butter, with bites of raisins and a dash of cinnamon, welsh cakes are the nation’s favourite little cake.
With Cardiff being the social hub of Wales, it of course shows off the culture, and many independent restaurants are dotted around the city showcasing their efforts to provide the unique cuisine.
The Potted Pig
27 High St, Cardiff
In the Potted Pig, you can find an array of traditional dishes that mostly include local, welsh produce. For example, they offer rarebit as a side dish and their proteins are locally sourced in Wales.
21 Castle Arcade, Cardiff
Set in the picturesque location of Cardiff’s Castle Arcade, Madame Fromage arguably offers the most ‘Welshy’ cheese in Cardiff. It has over 39 different cheeses produced from all over Wales, from the Northern peaks of Snowdonia, to the southern lands of Caerphilly, the choice is faultless. Additionally, they claim to specialise in Welsh cuisine with dishes such as Traditional Lamb Cawl and Bara Brith on their food menu.
Pitch Bar and Eatery
3 Mill Lane, Cardiff
The Pitch Bar and Eatery kick start their menu with a Traditional Welsh Breakfast, which includes pork and leek sausages. Nothing grants a meal more ‘Welsh-ness’ than a leek, it is a known fact. Additionally, they serve Traditional Lamb Cawl and their Welsh speciality dishes consist of local produce from the Glamorgan area.
Wales Millennium Centre
Set in one of Wales’ most iconic locations, Ffresh is a cabaret bar which embraces Welsh culture in their menu. Though they do not serve a wide range of traditional meals, their dishes consist of largely welsh sourced ingredients from all around the country; from Pembrokeshire to Pantsygawn to Brecon.
Fabulous Welsh Cakes
44 Castle Arcade, Cardiff
Just a short walk from Madame Fromage, Fabulous Welsh Cakes are a small, independent business that have a joy for making the nation’s favourite cake. They of course serve the traditional flavour of raisins and cinnamon; however, they have merged this cake into the 21st century and offer an array of other flavours too.
Cardiff is full of small, independent eateries that are actively making Wales’ traditional dishes so why not get out into the city and delve into the Welsh culture!