Welsh rabbit (original spelling) or Welsh rarebit is a traditional but famous Welsh dish. Basically, it’s combination of hot melted cheese on toast which is a winning combination on any day. The first and most important thing to understand is that rarebit is not a word that is used in any other context. It only exists next to the word Welsh when referring to the dish Welsh rarebit. There’s no rarebitting involved in making Welsh rarebit, no rarebits are harmed during the cooking process and you don’t serve it on a rarebit, Welsh or otherwise. Some still call it posh Cheese on Toast which let’s face it, doesn’t sound half as good as Welsh Rarebit, does it?
The origin of the name is uncertain, but it’s generally believed that the word rarebit is a corruption of the word rabbit. 'Welsh rabbit' first appeared as a dish in 1725 and later in many "Eighteenth-century cookbooks. It is thought that the dish was attributed to the Welsh because of their historic fondness for cheese, which was used as a substitute for meat as a source of protein by poor peasants. Welsh Rarebit is described by some as 'posh cheese on toast'.
Or possibly it was to indicate how much the Welsh were said to enjoy hot cheese. There was even a medieval joke to that effect, that St. Peter was so tired of the noise from the Welsh people in heaven he tricked them into believing there was a roasted cheese just outside the pearly gates, and when they all ran out to get some, he locked the gates. It was probably funnier at the time !
There are some variations on the Welsh rarebit dish such as;-
There are many meals, drinks and dishes that have a National Day named after them, possibly the most famous being pancake day. But every 3rd September is National Welsh Rarebit Day which is celebrated the world over, but with great fervour in Wales.
When any dish is as popular as Welsh Rarebit, there are always many many different recipes and variations on the theme. However here is a traditional recipe to follow;
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Last Updated 16th June 2020
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