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Friday, March 19, 2010

Ladies who lunch

Conservative Assembly Member, David Melding's brilliant intervention on questions to the Rural Affairs Minister on Wednesday has now made it to the pages of the Western Mail. David has a knack of making off-the-wall contributions with a serious point. This one was no different:

David Melding: I wonder whether, on one of your many shopping trips to Harrods or Fortnum & Mason—or, indeed, a particular favourite of yours, Partridges of Sloane Square—you have noticed that much of the laverbread that they sell is sourced from the west of Scotland. Do you not agree that posh ladies who lunch should be eating Welsh laverbread?

David's essential complaint is that Wales is missing out on an opportunity to market itself through a dish that’s as definitively Welsh as cawl or bara brith. Laver is a shiny black vegetable that lies flat on rocks, but has long fronds underwater. During the 18th century laverbread became a staple for miners and though consumption has declined it is still eaten in Wales. But it’s thought restaurants now tend to serve it as an accompaniment to seafood and vegetarian dishes.

The Western Mail says that Carmarthenshire-based firm The Welsh Barrow was supplying Harrods and Fortnum & Mason with laverbread for 25 years until 12 months ago. They quote the firm’s founder Colin Pressdee as saying that the outfit had to be mothballed when Merseyside-based company Ocean Sea, which canned the laverbread, went bust:

Author of Food Wales – A Second Helping Mr Pressdee said: “It was a very popular line, but nobody from the Assembly ever commented on the fact that it was there or complimented us on the fact that we had it there all that time.”

Well now he has one champion at least, but is it too late?
Carp: laver is an alga, not a vegetable.

But all power to you and David Melding in your campaign.
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