The Cuisine of Wales

The Cuisine of Wales

Wales is a rich agricultural country. The country has lowland areas near the coastline that had rivers depositing rich alluvium that has resulted in strong soils. Farming in the country is helped by being exposed to the region’s maritime climate that means that crops can grow for long periods and there is never any shortage of rainfall.

These are ideal conditions for the dairy industry and it accounts for 25% of all agricultural revenue. As well as the dairy industry producing an abundance of milk every day, a large quota of it has been used to make the Country’s cheeses. The most famous cheese in Wales is the Caerphilly Cheese which is a white crumbly cheese that was first made for miners to eat down the pit.

Cheddars have been an important Cheese in Wales and in particular for when they are used in Welsh rarebit. This is hot melted cheese mixed with other ingredients and then poured over warm toast. The dish has been served in Wales since 1725.

The Welsh rarebit

The cows in the region contain many breeds that have originated in Wales. Welsh Black Cattle are found and farmed in abundance, with beef production accounting for 23% of all agricultural output. The Welsh however, are known around the world for their sheep. With many of the inland areas being dominated by high land it is hardly surprising that that the country has an estimated 11 million sheep.

Wales is surrounded by coastline and it is of no surprise that many of the country’s top dishes are fish dishes. With so many coastal resorts in the country there are an abundance of fish and chip shops, with cod, place and haddock always being a popular meal. Wales has a national vegetable and it is the Leek. The vegetable as well as being served as a side dish is included in many Welsh recipes, which explains why it is so popular in the nation. The climate is ideal for the growing of vegetables and varieties such as suede and potatoes are grown in abundance.

The Glamorgan sausage is a typical welsh dish that uses local ingredients. There is no meat in the recipe but it contains a mixture of cheese and leeks, which is then covered in breadcrumbs rolled into a sausage shape and then cooked.

The fishing boats in Swansea harbor

Welsh cooking tends to be regional. In the mountains Lamb is used in many dishes. Simple roast Lamb is a favorite but is also used in stews and Shepherd’s pie. One such stew is a Tatws Popty which contains Lamb potatoes and other vegetables. This hearty food is very different from the food that is eaten on the Gower Peninsular.

Gower was so cut off from the other markets in Wales that it produced its own dishes from the ingredients it was able to grow, raise or fish. Game is a particular favorite with rabbit being the main ingredient in the “rabbit casserole with faggots”.

The sheep in the area are farmed on the salt marches. The saline environment gives the lamb a special taste and the same has occurred with the beef that is produced from the same region. Laverbread is made from the seaweed that is washed ashore. It is boiled for hours to form a puree then it is fried.

With the area having a large tidal range it is ideal for the fishing of cockles, crabs, whelks and oysters. These products are bought from the local markets. There are still a number of small fishing boats that venture from Swansea harbor every day. The seas are rich in mackerel, cuttlefish and Sea Bass.

Welsh cakes are an ideal accompaniment with afternoon tea. The cakes are a mixture of flour, lard, currents, eggs, milk and sugar. They are shaped into circles baked in an over and then sprinkle with caster sugar.

Another cake that is popular is Bara Brith. This is similar to a fruit loaf with the ingredients including dried fruits, candied peel, flour, margarine and yeast. The mixture would be soaked in cold tea before being baked.

Wales has a rich natural cuisine.