Welsh Laverbread (PDO)
Laverbread is “as Welsh as our unspoilt rolling moorlands, mellifluous male voice choirs and long place names” – Robin Turner
Welsh Laverbread is made from cooked laver (seaweed) which has been plucked by hand from the Welsh coastline. It has a unique texture and salty flavour which provides a taste of the fresh, Welsh sea. Laver or Laver porphyra umbilicalis is the only seaweed which is only one cell thick.
The laver is cooked in batches either continuously for 3-4 hours at a temperature greater than 98˚ C or at a lower temperature of 80˚C for up to 9 hours. The cooking time may vary throughout the year, with the younger more succulent laver gathered in the spring often requiring a shorter cooking period. When cooked, depending upon its moisture content, the seaweed is either drained first or placed directly into a mincing machine and pureed. Alternatively, for a more textured laverbread the laver can be roughly chopped.
Laverbread is rooted in Welsh history as a vital source of nutrition. This high energy food source was particularly crucial for hard working pit workers in the South Wales mining valleys where it became a staple breakfast food. Women and children who also worked underground in the pits, were often malnourished, and were advised by doctors to eat Welsh Laverbread because it provided an unmatched source of iron.
Today, Laverbread is a Welsh delicacy, famously being described by Richard Burton as ‘Welshman’s caviar’. It is often served fried as part of a traditional Welsh breakfast with cockles and bacon.
From a vital food source with a unique nutrient profile to a Welsh delicacy, this ‘taste of the Welsh coast’ is surprisingly versatile. Welsh Laverbread was awarded PDO status in 2017 to celebrate its inherent ties to Welsh seascapes and communities.
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