Have you, like us, always felt Wales’s most acquired delicacy deserved its own designated day of celebration?
Well, get excited, because 14 April has officially been branded National Laverbread Day.
For those unlucky souls who are unfamiliar with this Welsh delight, Laverbread is the cooked form of ‘laver’, a type of red seaweed that is found on the beaches of Wales. Since at least the 12th century, resourceful locals have harvested this seaweed from rocks along the Welsh coast, boiled it, and incorporated the salty, nutritious paste into their cooking: be it with a slab of mutton as part of a traditional Welsh miner’s breakfast or mixed with oatmeal to form savoury rock cakes and scones.
A day celebrating this lesser-known Welsh ingredient is the brainchild of Jonathan Williams, a chef who runs the award-winning Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, which has been championing sustainable Welsh seafood for over a decade. It is hoped people will mark the inaugural celebration by sampling laverbread, attending themed events, and sharing their laverbread-based recipes on social media.
Speaking about what drove him to dream up National Laverbread Day, Tom said, ‘To me, laverbread has to be one of the food wonders of the world. For too long laverbread has been cast aside as a footnote in the culinary world.’
‘But not anymore: from now on this incredible ingredient shall be celebrated, revered around the world for the marvellous delicacy it is,’ he added.
Alongside its distinctive, salty taste, laverbread is renowned for its nutritional properties. It is full of vitamins and is claimed to contain more protein, gram for gram, than chicken. It was once even prescribed by doctors to help malnourished Welsh pit workers recover their strength.
As for the date of this newly-formed culinary holiday, 14 April has been chosen as it is the same day seaweed farmers from another algae-loving nation, Japan, celebrate ‘Mother of the Sea Day’. The Mother of the Sea is a title bestowed upon British biologist Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker, whose work studying the life cycle of algae on the beaches of Wales ultimately helped revolutionise the seaweed cultivation industry in Japan, which, due to factors like unpredictable harvests, had previously been on the brink of ruin.
Laverbread is not the first Welsh food to have its own celebratory day, however, with the cheese-heavy comfort dish Welsh Rarebit having claimed its own dedicated date, 3 September, some years ago.
Learn more about the famous foods of Wales.