What is Welsh rarebit? (Hint: it’s not just cheese on toast)

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Welsh rarebit, the perfect dish for St David's Day


What is welsh rarebit?

Welsh rarebit or Welsh rabbit is a Welsh dish made from a hot cheese sauce served on toasted bread.

Is welsh rarebit just cheese on toast?

No! Cheese on toast is made by grilling slices of pure cheese on toasted bread whereas welsh rarebit is a grilled cheese based sauce made from cheese, flour, beer and often added egg.

What meat is in Welsh rarebit?

Despite its alternative name being Welsh Rabbit,Welsh rarebit does not contain rabbit. The main body of a Welsh rarebit is made from Caerphilly cheese (not cheddar).

Where can I buy a traditional Caerphilly cheese?

You can buy Gorwydd Caerphilly online. Gorwydd is an handmade Caerphilly made using a traditional recipe and heritage methods and will taste very different to a supermarket variety. Approx 220g Gorwydd should be enough for four servings of Welsh rarebit.

The Ethicurean Cookbook Gorwydd Caerphilly. The Trethowan Brothers

Image credit: The Ethicurean Cookbook

Why is is called Welsh rarebit?

Sources differ but popular legend suggests that the name Welsh Rabbit was originally a jest at the expense of Welsh peasants who used cheese as a substitute for the meat they couldn't afford. From humble origins this wonderful dish is now a widely celebrated staple of British fare and certainly not a cuisine to be mocked!

Does Welsh rarebit give you vivid dreams?

This one is probably a myth, it originates from a newspaper cartoon strip by American cartoonist Winsor McCay called "Dream of the rarebit fiend" but we encourage you to try for yourself and report back on any strange dreams!

Why use Caerphilly and not Cheddar, what's the difference?

True traditional Caerphillys like Gorwydd have complex savoury, salty flavours and a lactic, fresh and citrussy centre whereas Cheddar is a richer, creamier cheese with tangier notes. Both are great for melting and grating into cheesy dishes but for the traditional Welsh rarebit we think Caerphilly's salty freshness has the edge.

Traditional Caerphilly - The Trethowan Brothers, Gorwydd Caerphilly 220g £7.25