Many claim that the best way to experience a culture is through local cuisine. The same can be said of your heritage. The best way to experience a piece of your ancestors’ lives is through the food they ate.
Use FamilySearch.org to find family recipes that your relatives have shared, or start recording the family recipes you have saved.
Welsh Food Traditions
In many cultures, the cuisine reflects the tastes and trends of the higher classes. However, the wealthy and educated in Wales who had the ability to record recipes often followed English cooking styles. Consequently, they did not represent true Welsh cooking.
Instead, traditional Welsh food largely represents working class in Wales. Welsh cuisine focuses on what the working class could produce or afford, and recipes were passed down orally in the families of the working class. As a result, you can learn a lot about your heritage through food if you have Welsh ancestors.
While meats and cheese were traditionally a highlight of Welsh foods, vegetables and herbs were less readily available. The most widely used vegetables and herbs were cabbages, leeks, thyme, savory, and mint. Over time, more variety was introduced as it became more accessible.
Variations in Traditional Welsh Food
Because Welsh food was historically limited by the availability of ingredients, there are variations in traditional dishes based on what could be grown in different regions. Higher elevations relied more on oats, while lower elevations used wheat and barley. Coastal residents often used seaweed to supplement their meals.
Interestingly, the Gower Peninsula features a flavor profile different from the rest of Wales. The peninsula was difficult to access by land and developed unique cuisines as a result of its isolation.
Welsh food represents the lives of the common people of Wales. Try the recipes below to get a taste of what life was like for your Welsh ancestors.
Also known as Welsh Rabbit, this traditional dish features a spicy cheese sauce over toast. You read that right—no rabbit is found in this dish!
Similar to a sweet biscuit or thick pancake, Welsh cakes rose to popularity as a tea-time treat. They’re delicious fresh and warm or on the go.
This hearty dish was originally intended to repurpose leftover meat. It’s a meat pie, often made with lamb and topped with a mashed potato crust.