As a feast day, it logicalaly follows food and drink should play a big part in observance and so that's where I began. Digging out a cookery book purchased a few years ago in Cardiff, I set about making a cawl, or stew. Although adapting the dish to suit my vegetarian diet, and dubious as to how authentic any true Welsh person would deem my effort, it proved a tasty and hearty meal of root vegetables, potatoes, leeks, pearl barely and, I'm afraid to say, soya mince to substitute for meat.
My first stop was only a short bus ride away, the London Welsh Centre. Surely I thought, this must be the very epicentre of Welsh festivity in London. The Centre began as a social club for servicemen based in the city during the wars of the last century and has since continued the tradition and offers amongst other things, free Welsh language lessons, male voice choir sessions, and rugby screenings. Today of all days I thought this must be party central!
As I approached the Centre on Greys Inn Road, I anticipated their hall packed to the rafters with men in rugby shirts, kids in novelty daffodil costumes, rivers of Brains SA ale and the whole building shaking with song. With trepidation of experiencing total and complete concentrated Welshness, I stepped over the threashhold...
Never mind, I wasn't about to let this setback interfere with my mission. I consoled byself at the Bree Louise in Euston, where they have Brains SA in a gravity cask.
Quaffing this above-average ale I became aware something was missing. That something was laver bread, or purred seaweed. This delicacy is not something widely known outside of Wales but I'm rather partial to it having also ate other types of seaweed in Korea and other countries and restaurants. Where I could obtain this product in London would prove something of a challenge. Off the top of my head I could only think of Fortnum & Masons, the upmarket suppliers of quality produce to both Royalty and tourists. Onwards to Piccadilly then, to try and source some salty seaweed treats.
Now this is more like it! Outside the front of the shop was this festive display announcing a Welsh food festival was taking place in store!