When in Rome do as the Romans do. That’s how the saying goes, so when in Cardiff do as the Cardiffian’s do and try as much traditional Welsh food as you can.
We’ve rounded up the dishes made from traditional Welsh food and found places where you can sample some Laverbread or enjoy an Oggie in these Cardiff foodie establishments.
The dish: Lamb Cawl
A hearty substantial dish that is recognised as the staple dish of Wales, with recipes that vary from town to town and have been handed down through families for generations.
The earliest recipe for Cawl dates back to the 14TH century and was eaten during the winter months. It is essentially a thick soup or stew made from any meat, Lamb is good in Wales though so why not, and plenty of wholesome veggies, usually leeks.
When Cawl was served at dining tables of old the juices from the meat and stock from the veggies was thickened after being drained from the cooking pot and served as a first course.
The slices of meat and boiled vegetables were then served as the second course with bread and cheese on the side.
Where to eat it: Garlands Coffee
Nestled within the Duke Street Arcade this Garland’s cafe oozes with all the charm of a street side café in Paris. The quaint interior is pared back and simple yet elegant with a quirky décor and chalkboard menus.
Enjoy everything from breakfast and coffee to a beer and brunch, the menu is diverse and the drinks list is long. With locally sourced food and drinks as well as seasonal specials being available to order, Garlands makes a great choice for trying traditional Welsh food in Cardiff and their Cawl is said to be to die for.
The dish: Welsh Rarebit
The name “Welsh Rarebit” derives from early records when the dish was called Welsh Rabbit in 1725. Although even since its conception no rabbit has ever been used in the making of a traditional Welsh rarebit.
Much like toad-in-the-hole isn’t made from toad and mock-turtle soup doesn’t have turtle in it.
Usually a combination of everyone’s favourite ingredients including ale, mustard. Paprika, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce are blended together with cheese and spread across slices of toasted bread.
This tasty traditional Welsh food is essentially an amped up version of cheese on toast that packs a bit punch and in the modern sense is usually accompanied by a slice of thick ham or bacon.
Where to eat it: Madame Fromage
Hidden in the Castle Arcade, Madame Fromage is a must visit on any trip to Cardiff and the perfect place to sample this traditional Welsh food delicacy.
The shop is famous across Cardiff for providing diners with an exceptional choice of cheese and baked goods and will allow diners to sit in and try samples of cheeses from all origins before taking them home.
Madame Fromage specialises in the dining experience, so this is not where to go if you are in a hurry as the food is slow cooked in open kitchens so people can see that its done slowly and with care.
The dish: Laverbread
Laver is basically a type of edible seaweed, not a loaf of bread as you would be led to believe from its name. Some say the food was first eaten in Wales by Vikings as survival food, however, the first recorded harvest of laver of “Lhawvan” was in 1607.
Laver grows freely on exposed shores all over the world and is especially cultivated in Japan. When the reddish-green sheets are left out to dry they become black. They are then dried out and mashed into a dough or mixed with oats and butter and fried.
Laverbread is still sought after and is considered a traditional Welsh food to be eaten with a full Welsh breakfast. Known as a Welshman’s Caviar this traditional Welsh food is a delicacy. It can be heated and spread on toast, topped with cockles or combined with other salty ingredients such as bacon and cheese.
Where to eat it: Ashton Fishmongers
To get your hands on the best laverbread in Cardiff make your way to Ashton’s Fishmongers. Amongst the gleaming fillets of fresh fish and trays of scrumptious shellfish is a vat of what looks like mud.
Either grab a tub and get stuck in with your fork, ask them to throw some cockles on top or take it home to spread it on your toast or serve with your traditional full Welsh breakfast. It can even be rolled with oats and turned into delicious little laver cakes.
No matter how you chose to eat it, laverbread is the top traditional Welsh food to try in Cardiff.
The dish: Welshcakes
Part cookie, part scone, part pancake but a taste like none of the above, the Welshcake is a tasty traditional Welsh food and a baked slice of cake heaven.
First made as part of afternoon tea by the housewives of Wales then later put into children’s lunch boxes and the pockets of coal miners as a delicious sweet treat, the Welshcake has been around since the late 19th century.
Due to the way the cakes are baked they can be referred to as bakestones as they were once grilled on top of a hot stone which would take forever and are now traditionally prepared on cast iron griddles instead, earning the name griddle cakes.
Where to eat it: Fabulous Welshcakes
No better place to get your hands on the best Welshcakes in Cardiff than Fabulous Welshcakes, a bakery that specialises in only Welshcakes so its no wonder they are the best.
They have two stores, one in the Castle Arcade and one down on Mermaid Quay, and both serve the most buttery, crumbly, delicious Welsh cakes in town.
Fabulous Welshcakes have perfected the traditional baking process and created a variety of clever flavour combinations that elevate the traditional Welsh food for the modern day consumer.
Wrap your lips around a Fabulous Welshcake or pick up a pretty package to take home as a souvenir.
The dish: Bara Brith
The name translates as speckled bread and is a spiced tea loaf and a well known traditional Welsh food that has been served since the days of old.
When bread was a staple of the everyday diet it was often made using barley flour which does not rise, the bread was so dense and flat it could be used as a plate to soak up the aforementioned Cawl.
It is said that Bara Brith was created by chance when a baker wanted to add flavour to the basic flat dense bread dough he was used to making by adding fruit soaked in tea and spices to the dough.
Where to eat it: Penylan Pantry
On the outskirts of the city a charming little café come deli, Penylan Pantry is the source of the best Bara Brith in Cardiff.
Take a journey there and fill a basket full of goodies from the deli, take a seat and dine in the café and check out their well-stocked pantry where you’ll find, among other baked goods, the delicious fresh baked loaves of Bara Brith.
The dish: Glamorgan sausage
Perfect for the veggies out there, a Glamorgan sausage is a traditional Welsh food made with leeks, cheese and breadcrumbs. The dish was originally recorded in 1850 but this version contained pork, its present recipe didn’t come about until wartime when meat was rationed.
The Glamorgan name came from the type of cheese that was used to make the veggie sausage, however, the cheese is no longer available due to the decline of Glamorgan cattle. Now the typical Glamorgan sausage is made using Caerphilly cheese, descended from the Glamorgan recipe.
Where to eat it: Hogwurst in Cardiff
Specialising in gourmet hot dogs, it seems only right that Hogwurst would supply Cardiff’s best version of the Glamorgan sausage.
They serve the tasty traditional Welsh food as part of their brunch menu and veggie breakfast. Or if you are there for an evening meal you can pick up a Glam Dawg which includes two Glamorgan sausages, topped with sweet chilli, mustard and ketchup. A truly spicy affair.
The dish: Welsh Oggie
As with a lot of the traditional Welsh food in Cardiff, the Welsh Oggie dates back to coal miners lunchboxes or even further back to 1181 when the Oggie was said to be served to the builders of St David’s Cathedral.
The thick pastry would act as a dish or bowl for the meat and veg filling inside, preventing the miners and builders from having to wash their hands before eating. This way miners and builders could eat with their dirty hands and discard the coal or dirt covered pastry when the filling was gone.
The traditional filling is that of Weslh lamb, mint and vegetables or potatoes, onions, leeks and beef and the pastry-wrapped delights can be either handheld size or for the more traditional approach chose a Giant Welsh Oggie.
Where to eat it: Pettigrew Bakery
Just outside Victoria Park is where you’ll find Pettigrew Bakery and if you get lost along the way simply follow your nose. Then get your hands on a traditional Welsh Oggie baked to perfection and with love.
The Pettigrew team are dedicated to their craft and ensure these perfect Welsh pastries are staying true to their age-old recipes.
For a quick bite to eat or a takeaway for a picnic in the park chose a traditional Welsh Oggie made with love by the Pettigrew team.
The Grand Opening of R.P.Culley’s Restaurant & Carruthers’ Suite
On the 29th November 2018 Cardiff will welcome a new dining establishment serving delicious traditional Welsh food from within elegant and historic surroundings.
R.P.Culley’s Restaurant has been calling the Grand Hall Suite of Exchange Hotel home, whilst important renovations have commenced in the northeast corner of the building.
Over the next few weeks, the new restaurant space will undergo final finishing touches, restoring the exquisite original features that remain to their former glory creating a truly stunning restaurant in Cardiff.
Another hotly anticipated addition to R.P.Culley’s Restaurant will be the Carruthers’ Suite. An elegant private dining and special events venue that will be perfect for hosting intimate and exclusive gatherings.
Diners and guests can expect delicious menus consisting of traditional Welsh food with a contemporary twist made lovingly from locally sourced produce at R.P.Culley’s. Sure to become one of Cardiff’s favourite restaurants R.P.Culley’s will be receiving its first guests before the end of the year.
Call now on 0151 601 8801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss and book your table at R.P Culley’s and be one of the first to dine in this spectacular Cardiff restaurant. Why not make a night of it and check out some of the amazing accommodation offers we have at Exchange Hotel, perfect for date nights and short breaks away in the city.