Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus
Today at the Trefeddian, we would normally be celebrating all things Welsh, serving special Welsh dishes from hearty cawl, local lamb, delicious Welsh cheeses and Penderyn whiskey-inspired desserts. The hotel would be adorned with daffodils and the Bro Dysynni Welsh Choir would be singing traditional songs whilst our guests enjoyed special Welsh after-dinner drinks from the bar.
This St David’s day will be quite different for us all. We won’t be able to celebrate in the same way and we will miss our guests, but that doesn’t stop us showcasing the best Wales has to offer. So here are some of the things that make Wales so special…
It took until 1959 for the Welsh national flag to be officially unfurled for the first time. The significance of the dragon in Welsh culture is believed to date back to Arthurian legend when Merlin had a vision of a red dragon (representing native Britons) fighting a white dragon (the Saxon invaders). The use of green and white refer to the colours of the House of Tudor - the 15th century royal family of Welsh origin. And, just in case you were wondering, the red dragon won the battle!
The origins of the national flower of Wales appear to be as an attractive replacement for the humble leek. David Lloyd George, the only Welshman to serve as Prime Minister, was a public advocate of the daffodil and its appearance in early spring as a symbol of nature’s optimism neatly coincides with St David’s Day on 1st March.
A handcrafted gift made of a solid block of wood, the tradition of a male admirer crafting a lovespoon for a young woman indicated to the woman’s family that he was skilled and capable with his hands. Each specific carving on the spoon is symbolic, from the eternal love of the Celtic knot, to the twisted stem indicating togetherness.
Less than a century ago, there were just two breeding pairs in the country. But the breed’s remarkable recovery means there are now hundreds to be seen soaring over rural areas of Wales. Several red kite feeding stations also offer visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent birds.
The first Welsh international rugby union match took place in 1881 against England, in Blackheath. It didn't go well for the away team, but brushing that minor setback aside, the first golden era for Welsh rugby came with a three year unbeaten run between 1907 and 1910. The side’s fortunes may have ebbed and flowed for the subsequent century and a bit, but it hasn't deterred the phenomenal support which reflects the cultural importance of the sport in towns and villages all over the country.
Here in Wales, we have a strong tradition of living off the land, stretching back as far as the ancient Celts. Food has historically been simple wholesome fare – thrifty dishes made with just a few simple, quality ingredients. This was fuel designed to satisfy the hearty appetites of those working the land, such as farmers, quarry workers, coal miners and fishermen.
Click here to discover what foods delight our senses or why not try baking Bara Brith (meaning speckled bread)? A delicious bread made with either yeast or self-raising flour, it is traditionally flavoured with tea, dried fruits and mixed spices, and is served sliced and buttered at tea time.
400g mixed fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currants)
300ml strong hot tea
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
100g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 free range egg, beaten
Honey to glaze
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the tea, mix in the sugar and stir well to dissolve. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Next day, sift the flour and spice into the soaked fruit (no need to drain the tea) and stir in the egg. Blend well together.
Preheat the oven to 180°C /Gas 4. Line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture.
Bake for approximately 1 hour until the cake has risen and cooked through. Leave to cool on a rack and store for 2 days before eating. Serve sliced with butter.
This mixture can be doubled to make 2 loaves and will keep for up to 7 days.
Warm a little honey to drizzle over the surface of the warm cake for a glazed topping.