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Saint David's Day

By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Mar 1 2017 11:00AM

St. David is the patron saint of Wales. He was a Welsh bishop and son of the king of Ceredigion (a kingdom forming part of west Wales).


St. David's Day is celebrated on 1st March, the day he died in 589AD, reputedly aged more than 100 years old. The celebrations do not have a particularly defined format but most involve daffodils (the national flower of Wales), that most famous of Welsh vegetables, the leek, and laverbread.

At first glance, a plate of greeny-black gunge isn't that appealing, but bear with us. Laver is the name of a particular seaweed that grows in the littoral zone (that's the beaches) of the UK and around the world. It is widely eaten in Asia and you might have seen it as "nori" on Japanese restaurant menus. The green outer layer of sushi rolls (which you can buy dried in many Asian supermarkets) is also nori.


To make Laverbread (Bara Lafwr in Welsh) the raw laver is boiled then finely minced to create a thick paste. Most commonly the paste is coated in or combined with oats before frying and the usual accompaniments are bacon and cockles to create a hearty breakfast fit for any hardworking coal miner or fisherman.


For some reason the English and Scots rarely go near laver and yet the delicacy is a Welsh national dish. It has a distinct flavour that owes much to its high iodine content. Other foods with lots of iodine include olives and oysters so you can get an idea of the sort of taste your letting yourself in for - flavoursome and pretty unique.


Did you know…? There are no poisonous seaweeds in the British Isles. Some don't taste great but none of them will kill you. If you're not quite ready to forage your own you'll find laverbread in some supermarkets and several online fish retailers sell it as an accompaniment.


"Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus!"

(Happy St. David's Day)


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