Across Wales and beyond, 1 March is a national day of commemoration for the patron Saint David. This is marked by an array of festivities encompassing feasting, parades, singing and poetry competitions. Needless to say, food and drink feature largely as an expression of national identity, with leeks worn as badges and Welsh cakes being rustled up in fairs, shops and households across the nation.
So whether you are Welsh or not, why not embrace the spirit of the red dragon by gathering round family and friends for your own St David’s Day celebration. Our three-course dinner party menu showcases the best of Welsh cuisine and provides options for both meat eaters and vegetarians. You can also find more inspiration from our St David’s Day recipe collection.
Kick off your meal with steaming bowls of our fresh and minty version of Welsh cawl. This herby lamb, potato & pea stew is hearty and comforting, yet still light enough to serve as a starter. Welsh lamb is renowned for it’s rich flavour, so it seems only right to pay homage to this speciality. This comforting stew is also packed with lots of chunky veg, including carrots, shallots, potatoes and leeks – the national emblem of Wales. Serve with a warm chunk of crusty bread and butter.
For a veggie alternative, our pea, mint & spring onion soup makes a simple yet sophisticated starter, bursting with spring flavours. The soup itself is easy to make ahead and store overnight in the fridge, then heat up over the hob before serving. Add a touch of finesse by topping each bowl with a crispy cheese tuile (making sure to use vegetarian parmesan if required).
Impress your crowd with this next level take on a classic Welsh onion cake. We’ve added gorgeously crumbly Caerphilly cheese for a sharp, tangy flavour that balances perfectly with the sweet leeks and onions. If you aren’t able to find Caerphilly, then an alternative salty, crumbly cheese will work. Simply assemble by layering buttered potato slices with cheese and caramelised vegetables, then bake until beautifully crispy and golden brown on the outside with a melty, soft centre.
St David’s Day would not be complete without copious amounts of Welsh cakes, so we naturally had to round off the meal with these sweet treats. One of the country’s age-old food symbols, recipes for Welsh cakes are often passed down the generations, leading to a impressive range of interpretations.
Traditionally baked on hot stones, these flat scone-like cakes are now commonly made on a griddle or in a heavy-based frying pan. Our easy Welsh cakes recipe uses a classic combination of lard and butter, but you can use all butter if you wish. The cake mixture is studded with juicy currants and a hint of spice, but you can of course experiment with new fillings, or leave out the fruit if you wish.
Welsh cakes are delicious served warm with butter and jam or simply sprinkled with sugar. We recommend you make a big batch as they are likely to dissapear like ‘hot cakes’.
If you want to try another popular Welsh bake, our bara brith recipe is also a brilliant teatime treat.
Now the feasting is complete, why not round off your evening in true Welsh style by raising a glass (of scrumpy if available) to Saint David and belt out a few empassioned choruses of ‘Land of my Fathers’.