Welsh Food laverbread not a bread!
Wonder Weed of the Sea!
Laverbread, Bara Lawr or Slake, an Acquired Taste!
One of the most beautiful sights on the coast of West Wales is the rocky shores covered with fresh, colorful, almost transparent, purple Seaweed. The Seaweed is washed twice daily by the tides of the Atlantic Ocean, collecting nutrients from the Sea. The seaweed, unusual in being only one cell thick is rich in about fifty minerals, the main ones being iron and iodine. It also contains Vitamins B2, A, D and C. For centuries the people of the Coast of south and West Wales have harvested it from the rocks to prepare a special dish, Laverne. This was first mentioned in the book written in 1605, Camden's Britannica, a topographical and historical survey of Britain. The Gower peninsula and the Pembrokeshire coast being especially famous for it. The Seaweed is dried in special drying huts on the beaches and then washed to get rid of the sand in several changes of fresh water. It is then boiled for several hours in big kettles until it is reduced to a dark greenish residue which is the Laverbread.
This Laverbread is added to stews and soups. My favorite way to eat it, is formed into patties, rolled in oatmeal and then fried with the breakfast bacon. I will not lie, it is an acquired taste and you probably will find it very unusual at first, not to say strange! It is very popular in its home territory, South and West Wales. Ambitious Chefs are experimenting with it in Ravioli and Risotto. Richard Burton the famous Welsh Actor called it Welsh Caviar, but then I think he had acquired a taste for it! One thing is certain, it is definitely good for you! The Japanese enjoy a relation to Laverbread in the seaweed used in Sushi, Nori.
My Grandparents used to travel to Cardiff the Capital of Wales once a week to buy their Laverbread at the fish market. They lived to be nearly 100 yrs old and I can never remember either of them being ill. My Granddad, Pop Newport, never retired from his business of making and repairing Billiard Tables. ( see my hub on him, Pop Newport, the Harley Guy.) We used to use the drippings from roast lamb mixed with the juice of a lemon or bitter Seville Orange and a tablespoon of Laverbread to make a good sauce to serve with the lamb for our Sunday lunch. These days with the extreme interest in food, I expect there are may inventive ways to use Laverbread
If you are in Wales, give it a try. It is also available on line http://www.laverbread.com/ so there is no excuse. It is also stated that because of the high iodine content it would be a useful food to eat in event of nuclear war as the iodine combines with heavy metals and enables them to be excreted from the body! Better acquire a taste for this useful dish. Enjoy