As part of our recognition of St David’s Day on 1st March, our team chef (@MTPlates), in collaboration with our butcher and other team members, has put together a delicious menu complete with recipes (as shown below) to whet your appetite…..
…. Which prompted the question “why leeks and Wales?” So a bit of research…
There is conflicting information as to whether the Romans introduced this original superfood to our island or whether the Druids were already using the leek as both a healthy foodstuff and medicine
. An original superfood, the leek contains many properties that are beneficial to our health. Not only that, typical folklore deemed that if a young maiden placed a leek under her pillow at night, she could see the features of her future husband. (Thank goodness this practice didn’t take over from roses on Valentine’s!)
Moving on from the Druids and Romans, enter St David. Born into an aristocratic family in south-west Wales, he founded a Celtic monastic community in Glyn Rhosyn, Pembrokeshire which became an important Christian shrine, and assisted with the foundation of around 12 monasteries. His death is thought to be 1st March 589 and the feast of St David’s Day has been celebrated since his canonisation much later in the 12th Century.
We’re getting to the association with leeks…. Legend has it that King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered Welsh soldiers to wear a leek on their helmets to identify themselves during the Battle of
Heathfield in 633AD against the Saxons; allegedly the battle took place in a field of leeks…… In the 14th Century at the Battle of Crecy, Welsh archers wore green and white, likely taken from the colours of the leek…….. The great Bard even refers to the traditional wearing of leeks in Henry V (written late 16th Century).
Now comes the myth…. an English poet in the early 17th Century recorded that it was St David who ordered the soldiers to wear the leeks a little earlier in history! No matter whether fact, legend or myth, these are fascinating stories that have resulted in the leek being one of the national emblems of Wales, still appearing on the Welsh Guards’ badges, with fresh leeks still proudly worn by both the Welsh military and members of the public to celebrate St David’s Day.
Oh, and a little snippet, apparently the Welsh Guards have a raw leek-eating competition to celebrate St David. Personally I wouldn’t advocate that, but encourage you to try some of our Welsh-themed recipes detailed below… and here’s the sell bit – made with ingredients available from Barnowl Farmshop.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!
Happy St David’s Day!