Brought to you by Visit Wales
As I write this, I am looking out my window realizing that the sun is already starting to set earlier than it had been. Summer is almost at its end, which is signaled on the calendar by that official last holiday of the season, Labor Day.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Start of truly laboring away
- 0.2 Cookout during Labor Day
- 0.3 One Year of Full-Time Travel
- 0.4 Rarebit in the United Kingdom
- 0.5 Let’s visit Wales
- 0.6 Welcome to Narberth
- 0.7 I thought she said “rabbit”
- 0.8 Dish Our Town’s Welsh Rarebit Recipe
- 0.9 Celebrate National Welsh Rarebit Day with a Recipe
- 0.10 Homage to Buffalo Chicken Wings
- 0.11 Here comes Labor Day!
- 1 Enter for a chance to win a prize!!
Start of truly laboring away
As New Yorkers, and has been part of the retail industry for more than 2 decades, the last long weekend of the summer meant the end of an unhurried schedule and the start of truly laboring away. So to make the most of the time left, it was always important to us that we got together with friends and family on that last weekend, usually in the form of a cookout.
Cookout during Labor Day
Well, in honesty, it’s less “cookout” and more “bring something over to eat inside”. It is the city after all. Every year, there seems to always be one attendee that brings something a bit more unique than the others and the dish tends to become a traditional offering for the many celebrations that follow. It’s akin to a knighthood in many ways. Nothing like being the person that brings the food that everyone is looking forward to having.
One Year of Full-Time Travel
My family and I had been traveling full-time for the past year, and we missed last year’s Labor Day festivities. In our return, I wanted to prepare something that captured a moment from our travels. I was back and forth as to what to prepare. As I was doing research, I came upon the fact that September 3rd, which is the Saturday of this upcoming Labor Day weekend is also National Welsh Rarebit Day. I’m doing rarebit!
Related post: When in Wales, make sure to do a tour with Food and Drink Wales.
Rarebit in the United Kingdom
Rarebit is a dish widely offered in the UK. The Scotch and the English have their recipes, but I feel the Welsh are the ones that can truly make the claim to it. If you are not familiar with rarebit, as I was before traveling to Wales; it is, in the most colloquial American Culinary definition, their version of a grilled cheese sandwich.
Let’s visit Wales
Not intrigued? Then let me take you back with me to the time I spent in Wales and how this dish captures a culture and why it bears importance to me and my family and in the process make you a fan of a simple, and yet, deeply traditional dish.
Welcome to Narberth
The buildings were as colorful as a Springs day, and the torrents matched. We were soaked, and we took cover in a small boutique that specialized in handmade knitted items and antiques that were well displayed, which made everything look worth more than it probably was. I was greeted by the person behind the register, who I had expected was the owner. She welcomed me to Narberth. I couldn’t help but give her a second look, as she was a lot younger and prettier than I had imagined a person to be in such a store.
“I’m sorry, I brought in the wet.”, as I tried to wipe myself dry.
“It’s fine”, she responded. “We have had 73 straight days in which we had at least a little rain”.
My wife, who couldn’t help but be amused by my attempt at flirtation saved me by asking her for a place she recommended for some lunch.
“A warm place, where he can get ‘less wet’ and where we can all enjoy a good Welsh meal”.
I thought she said “rabbit”
In what we learned to know as a Welsh trait, hospitality is in their blood. Without hesitation, she listed out a few traditional places to have lunch. When asked what we should have, she countered by questioning us if it was our first time in Wales. Upon our reply of, “yes”, she then said that we couldn’t leave Wales without having tried a rarebit. Initially, I thought she said “rabbit”. Which is etymologically correct, as “rarebit” is in fact extracted from “rabbit”.
In a quaint tavern, taking warmth, I ordered the dish. I was expecting a rabbit stew of sorts. Instead, what was served to me was what looked like a hybrid of a Croque Monsieur and a traditional American grilled cheese sandwich. I gazed out the window onto the lovely green setting outside as I enjoyed my rarebit. I found it to be as sustaining as any stew and as comforting as the residents of the wonderful and lush country that is Wales.
Dish Our Town’s Welsh Rarebit Recipe
Wales should be a top destination on your list if you haven’t been there already. However, if “labor” gets in the way, bring yourself thereby making a rarebit.
The traditional recipe calls for the following:Print
Celebrate National Welsh Rarebit Day with a Recipe
225g grated, strong cheese such as Collier’s Welsh Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 level teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons flour
Shake of pepper
4 tablespoons beer, Guinness or milk
4 slices bread toasted on 1 side only.
Put the cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, flour and pepper into a saucepan.
Mix well and then add the beer, Guinness or milk to moisten. Do not make it too wet!!
Stir over a gentle heat until all is melted, and when it is a thickish paste, stop stirring, and swivel it around the saucepan, which it will do quite easily.
Leave to cool a little, and meanwhile, toast the bread on one side only.
Spread the rarebit over the untoasted side and brown under a hot grill.
This mixture can be made and kept in the refrigerator for several days if required. Sweet white wine can be used instead of beer and gives a good flavor.
- Serving Size: 2
Keywords: Welsh Rarebit
Homage to Buffalo Chicken Wings
I followed the above recipe and made modifications. I replaced the Guinness with a Heineken; as opposed to dry mustard, I decided on a Dijon; and most importantly, I added Tabasco to the recipe, which I thought would bring a more American flavor to the dish. I chose a bleu cheese (gorgonzola) as opposed to Collier’s Welsh Cheddar to pay homage to another cookout favorite, Buffalo Chicken wings. Lastly, I decided on a rye bread as a tribute to the Lower East side Jewish sandwiches I grew up appreciating.
Here comes Labor Day!
When Labor Day comes around, I look to knock my friends out with stories of a place that the likes of Dylan Thomas (A Child’s Christmas in Wales) and Gareth Bale (soccer star) made famous. We love Wales, and we love rarebit. I hope the participants in this year’s “cookout” appreciate the dish and that it intrigues them enough to visit Wales.
Enter for a chance to win a prize!!
Also, in honor of National Welsh Rarebit Day, you could win a gift pack of Welsh cheeses in our photo competition. To enter the competition, try making your own creative Welsh Rarebit Burger, this Labor Day weekend, and post a photo of it on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Be sure to include #WelshRarebitDay and tag both @visitwales and @dishourtown. Post your photo by midnight ET on Tuesday morning, September 6th. Visit Wales will select the reader with the most creative burger, and they will win a gift pack of gourmet Snowdonia Cheese Company Welsh cheeses courtesy of Visit Wales. Good luck!
Regardless of the outcome. Enjoy creating a great rarebit and get yourself to Wales in the near future. Most importantly, enjoy the last long weekend of the summer and good luck laboring away.
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