Cockles and Laverbread

Part of a traditional Welsh breakfast. Yup, bivalves for breakfast!


Traditional Welsh Breakfast - Cockles and LaverbreadCockles and laverbread are considered a Welsh classic, and as I was just in Wales and I had to try it! I love bivalves of all types, so no surprise I loved the cockles, but there are a couple of odd things I didn’t realize:

1) Cockles and Laverbread are part of a traditional Welsh Breakfast, which also include other oddities (to an American) liked baked beans, as well as toast and bacon. Bivalves for breakfast? Why not!

2) Laverbread is not bread. I repeat, it is NOT bread. I originally thought it was the toast served with my traditional Welsh breakfast at Trams Diner in The Mumbles, a wonderful seaside community near Swansea. Laver bread is a weird green substance made from Laver, a type of rock clinging seaweed. This dark green substance is usually mixed with the cockles and served on a plate with eggs, bacon, etc.

Laverbread is made by boiling Laver seaweed, which is technically an edible, littoral alga. It is called “slake” in parts if Ireland.

It is cultivated in Wales. To make laverbread, Laver is plucked from the rocks on which it grows, boiled for hours (they love to boil things for hours in much of the United Kingdom in seems), and then commonly pureed and mixed with cockles, tasty smallish clam like bivalves.

Laver can be served other ways too, for example boiled with oatmeal or made into a sauce to go with lamb or monkfish.

Laver has a high iodine and iron content, and hence tastes quite strong, not unlike an Islay Whisky without the peat flavor.

Cockles and Laverbread at St Davids Hotel an Spa CardiffI also had Cockles and Lavabread at the Lovely St David's Hotel and Spa in Cardiff, where I just spent two weeks.

It was a wonderful, yet very different preparation, and of course served for breakfast.

The cockles were served chilled, and the laverbread was formed into balls combined with a breading type substance, and deep fried, resembling falafel and quite tasty. No doubt the St David's preparation would more appeal to most tourists. Wonderful!

Cockles and Laverbread - very strong tasting and definitely weird to most palates, but I love it! Cannot wait to go back to Wales for more!

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