Of all the culinary distinctions in the UK, Welsh cuisine stands out for its hearty consistency, its savoury quality and its historic ability to provide sustenance, even in meager harvest times.
Indeed, history reveals that the Welsh folk were hard working, living off beer and bread, meat and dairy, with cabbage and leeks the only vegetables of record in the region.
In fact, the tasty leek earned such a status as to be proclaimed the national vegetable!
All of that was way back, when transportation was inefficient and iffy at best, and the country was pretty much isolated.
My, how things have changed since then!
Motorways and shipping lanes make imports of raw ingredients a daily occurrence. Today, people can enjoy a variety of foods and cuisines, from American to Chinese.
Statistics show that Cardiff’s top 3 favourite tastes from elsewhere are chicken tikka marsala, hamburgers and chow mein!
Does that mean that Welsh cooking, like so many others around the globe, is becoming a fusion of world tastes?
Even today, a discussion of Welsh cookery is apt to generate a surprising amount of heat – Bobby Freeman, author of The Classic Guide to Welsh Food
Indeed, the Welsh are passionate about many things, including their heritage and their food.
Between fealty to kings who demanded food tributes from everyone – depleting their meager stocks, and years of food riots because there was simply not enough to eat, the people of Wales have earned the right to fierce pride in their cuisine.
Let us now discover the enticing aromas and tastes of Wales!
Clearly, Welsh Rarebit contains no rabbit! Source: Wikipedia Credit: Alex Lozupone
As mentioned before, the fare in Wales tends more toward the hearty: stews and breads, with some meat thrown in.
The Welsh Rarebit, formerly known as Welsh rabbit, might be the most deceptive item on the menu, as it contains no rabbit whatsoever!
The dish consists of melted cheese made savoury with herbs and other ingredients, poured over bread.
A variation of it comes similar to fondue, where the cheese sauce is left in its chafing dish, while the accompanying bread is served to each diner.
Other signature dishes from Wales include:
In spite of all this stick-to-the-ribs goodness, could there be more diversity in food for Wales?
Around 100 years ago, the increase in coal mining and steel works led to an influx of Italian immigrants who, naturally, brought their families and foods with them.
Since then, Italian cuisine has… not exactly become a staple of Welsh cuisine, but exists peacefully alongside it.
The two styles of cooking are quite similar: short on meat, heavy on wheat and sauces – although tangy tomato sauces diverge from the traditional, aromatic Welsh broths and sauces.
Let us now discover where we can learn to cook these fine foods in Cardiff!
No need to call for help or delivery; learning how to cook will make you a chef Source: Pixabay Credit Mohamad Hasan
Considering the presence and significance of Italy – her food and her people, in Cardiff’s history, it should come as no surprise that the best known chef would be of that descent.
Not only has Giovanni won awards for multiple dining outlets, but he is active in philanthropy and now, shares his passion for fine food preparation through cooking classes!
Have you always wanted to know how those pizza artists toss dough into the air to make the perfect crust?
Did you ever wonder if you could be better at grilling beef?
Maybe it is those sweet Italian treats that so tempt you… will anyone teach you how?
You can sign up for a day class or half class in these specific topics and more, to learn everything from how to make meatballs to preparing seafood.
Each of these lessons includes a three-course meal and complementary wine, except for the children’s courses: no wine for them!
Whether you want to get hands on with the cooking or just witness a cooking demonstration, Giovanni’s Cookery School has a cooking programme for you.
For a sample of the food he could teach you to prepare, you may consider dining there, or at his other restaurant…
Oh! You already have?
Let’s say that you are one of those statistics who love Indian cuisine.
To be sure, dining out is a special treat, but what if you could turn out delicious Indian food right in your own kitchen?
Head Chef Stephen Gomes teaches Indian cooking techniques at his facility, conveniently located in the heart of Cardiff, only 5 minutes from Moksh.
His culinary classes reflect modernist Indian cuisine, which he presents in an entertaining yet informative demonstration that you can participate in!
Also, as there is no set curriculum for this cooking school – the menu changes day by day, prepare yourself for surprise as well as a few gifts for attending, including a spice box and the apron you wore on the day you finally learned Indian cooking methods.
How are your skills in the kitchen, really? Do you ply a knife competently, or might you need to learn basic cooking?
For anything from seasonal dishes to cooking for kids – or a team building exercise at work, the next featured school has something for everyone!
Just about an hour north of Cardiff, located in Abergavenny is a fabulous nook that teaches amateur gastronomes anything they would want to know about the art of cooking.
From luscious cakes and desserts to succulent meats, including scrumptious seasonal fare, The Culinary Cottage has justifiably earned its reputation as a culinary school of the highest order.
Vegetarian cooking? Check! Game preparation? Check! Kids in the kitchen? Check!
This school of culinary arts even offers a gentlemen only course, where men can learn how to wow with food.
Whether you are a novice of knife skills or already have mastered substantial culinary feats, you will surely find a course to interest you at The Culinary Cottage.
Do you know what an Aga is? Might you have one in your kitchen?
If so, Penny Lewis can teach you exactly how versatile it can be, from warming your toes in the winter to grilling, baking, roasting and toasting.
Some classes last a whole week, while others only take a few hours.
Why not check out her page to find the cooking course that is right for you?
There are so many cooking schools in and around Cardiff, there is hardly room enough to mention them all!
Let us talk about fine dining experiences in the city, instead…
If fancy restaurant fare strikes your fancy, Cardiff has no shortage of experiences for you to sample! Source: Pixabay Credit: Neshom
When you treat yourself to a meal out, what do you prefer: seafood? Cordon Bleu? Michelin starred houses?
Or are you more of a budget dining type? You can confess; there is no shame in it, especially because the selection of eateries and pubs is so wide!
Selecting your best dining experience could be somewhat confusing, though.
Review page Chowhound avers Le Gallois is the perfect dining experience, but that name doesn’t feature at all on Tripadvisor’s page of restaurant recommendations.
In short, someone traveling to Cardiff, looking for a gastronomical adventure, would have their pick of food choices, so rich is the food culture there!
One restaurant that features on every page we’ve seen is Madame Fromage, and sampling their fare indicates all of the stories are true!
Their daytime menu consists of traditional Welsh favourites at a fair price, but come back in the evening and you will be treated to a feast of French, from baked Camembert to Boeuf Bourguingnon.
If it is Asian style that you crave, head directly to Café Malaysia, where the décor is a mess but the food more than makes up for it.
You might have a bit of trouble finding it, as there are no easily visible signs indicating its presence.
Trust our Guardian to help out!
You can read about their featured budget restaurants, and perhaps entice your taste buds to a new experience.
And maybe, if you’ve a yen to try haggis, you might head to Edinburgh to learn how to cook…