The Cawl Crawl

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just one way of serving cawl

I may be writing this from the Tunisian resort of Hammamet with the temperature being a balmy 20 degrees outside but, it being St David’s Day I will still be wearing my plastic daffodil. (there’s is a shortage or real ones here.)

I won’t be watching the traditional marches or listening to a local male voice choir. I also won’t be enjoying  a good old-fashioned cawl, that slow-cooked, soup or broth made from lamb, leeks and potato plus those other winter vegetables that warms the very fibre of a person after a crisp walk in the wintry weather outside. Who would have thought that today was the first day of meteorological Spring?

The local tourist board in Carmarthenshire has created a cawl crawl around the county enabling visitors to try cawl in a number of different places all of which blend a slightly different recipe. Crucially, all will be ideal as a snack or lunch time meal this week and better than a sandwich any time. (All right maybe not a hot bacon sarnie but it will ryn it close!)

Carmarthenshire is also known for its ham so some pubs and restaurants replace lamb with ham; some prefer mutton as it gives a slightly stronger taste. Some have beer as the basis for the drop and at least one I know has spiked the cawl with some red wine!

There is a total of 17 eateries featured on the crawl (ranging from cosy pubs to gourmet delis) where customers can enjoy stories behind each bowl and experience the different recipes.

Choices include taking away a steaming pot of Welsh ham cawl served with local Y Fenni cheese and Welshman’s Caviar (dried and toasted laver seaweed) from the Ginhaus Deli in Llandeilo to the, The White Heart, for their twist on cawl which is infused with beer and pearl barley. In Llanelli, Sosban is serving Cawl with potato terrine and goats curd, while the cawl at the coaching inn-cum-quirky-bistro-café Wright’s Food Emporium is a firm favourite amongst its patrons, made using ham hock, shoulder of lamb, plenty of vegetables and served alongside local Hafod Cheddar and homemade granary bread.

Another great stop is Maddocks General Store, a new café in the village of Upper Tumble (just north of Llanelli) which offers a hearty cawl made from Welsh beef with parsley, peas and its secret seasoning, while The Forest Arms, a village pub in Brechfa in the Cothi Valley, serves slow-cooked lamb cawl with rustic torn bread and mature Welsh cheddar. The old-world Plash Inn near Whitland is even offering free Cawl during all Welsh Six Nations games!

You could be controversial and visit Carreg Cennen Castle in Llandeilo. Their cawl is controversial because it contains no meat but lots of red lentils and vegetables. Called by Lonely Planet “possibly the best castle tearoom anywhere” spare some time to visit the castle which dates back to the twelfth century.

In fact castles and cawl could be ideal in the crisp weather we have at the moment.

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