Laverbread, or bara llaw in Welsh (thanks jasstrong), is perhaps the most famous Welsh traditional dish. Sometimes called Welsh Caviar, it is made from local seaweed called laver. There is doubt as to why it is 'bread', and it has nothing to do with caviar either, although it is black in colour.

Laver weed, also known as red laver or tangle, is a flat type of seaweed (the same as Japanese nori) which grows on the rocks in the south west of the country. It used to be collected by locals, stored and dried in seaweed huts on the shores before being sold at market.

Before use the seaweed has to be washed in copious amounts of water to remove sand and silt, then boiled for at least 5 hours until it becomes a gelatinous mass - after further chopping or mincing, this then becomes the laver bread. It is usually mixed with oatmeal to make cakes, then fried, preferably in bacon fat. It is best served with bacon, but is sometimes used as a vegetable accompaniment with Welsh mutton. In Cornwall laverbread is often served cold with vinegar.

Laver bread is a good source of iron, zinc, iodine and other trace elements. It is rich in vitamins A, C and B and contains significant amounts of taurine.

Laverbread cakes

  • 200g laverbread
  • 200g oatmeal
  • Bacon fat or lard
  • Add the oatmeal to the laverbread, blending it until you arrive at a texture that will hold its shape (You may not need all the oatmeal).
  • Shape into small cakes.
  • Fry the cakes in bacon fat (otherwise lard) for 3 - 4 minutes on each side.