The humble Welsh dish ‘rarebit’ is celebrated on National Welsh Rarebit Day on September 3. It is uncertain why this date was chosen, but what we are sure of is that this centuries-old dish doesn’t contain any rabbit. The term ‘rarebit’ is taken from the Welsh language, but it is just thickly-sliced bread with loads of decadent cheese sauce on top. Just thinking about the melted cheese sounds mouthwateringly good!
History of National Welsh Rarebit Day
Welsh rarebit made its first appearance in 1725, appearing in print in “The Art Of Cookery,” in which the author had given several variations for the dish according to British countries.
The key ingredients and preparation for all the recipes were the same except for a few alterations; for English rarebit, bread was basted in wine after toasting, and cheese was broiled at the top. The bread used for preparing Scottish rarebit was buttered, and Welsh rarebit was the same except the bread was both buttered and spread with mustard.
Over the years, there have been several other versions of the dish. The addition of eggs on top results in what is called a ‘Golden Buck.’ Tomatoes turn the dish into a ‘Blushing Bunny.’ Some people experiment with the ingredients by adding caramelized onions too.
In the 18th century, it was common to serve Welsh rarebit as a delicious and filling supper. It was served with ale in taverns. The cheese sauce is similar to fondue, except standard European fondue utilizes Swiss cheeses, while rarebit uses cheddar. Today, Welsh rarebit is still considered a hearty meal that is complemented with soup or tossed salad.
National Welsh Rarebit Day timeline
The first recorded reference to the dish refers to it as ‘Welsh rabbit.’
‘Welsh rarebit’ becomes a more common name as the dish gains popularity.
In an episode of “Gomer Pyle,” the protagonist starts sleepwalking after indulging in Welsh rarebit.
‘Rarebit’ and ‘rarebit sauce’ are occasionally used as cheese sauce on hamburgers or other dishes.
National Welsh Rarebit Day FAQs
Why do they call it Welsh rarebit?
The story behind the name ‘Welsh rarebit’ goes that it was a jab at Welsh peasants who could not afford any meat, and had to use cheese as a substitute in their meals.
What's the difference between cheese on toast and Welsh rarebit?
Cheese on toast is exactly what it is, cheese on toast! The sauce used for Welsh rarebit requires preparing a cheese mixture, then adding it on top of toasted bread.
What is Welsh rarebit commonly known as?
Welsh rarebit was originally called Welsh rabbit. As the dish contains no rabbit, the name evolved over time.
National Welsh Rarebit Day Activities
Cook some Welsh rarebit
It is not difficult, and the ingredients are easily available. Definitely worth a try!
Try a variation of the dish
If you are already a fan of Welsh rarebit, try a variation today. Prepare a Golden Buck, Blushing Berry, or a Yorkshire Buck.
Share it on social media
Share your prepared Welsh rarebit meals on the ‘gram! Use the hashtag #WelshRarebitDay.
5 Fascinating Facts About Wales
Mount Everest is a Welsh name
Mount Everest was named after a Welshman, Sir George Everest from Gwernvale, Breconshire.
23% of the whole Welsh population in Wales speaks part of the native language and only 11% are fluent.
Where is Wales?
Wales is the only part of the United Kingdom that is not represented on the Union Jack flag.
Castles are no big deal
It is believed that Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world
No need for these alphabets
The letters k, q, v, and z do not appear in the Welsh alphabet at all.
Why We Love National Welsh Rarebit Day
We love anything with cheese
We love cheese. Any holiday that calls for celebrating and eating cheese gets our seal of approval!
For the love of Welsh food
We celebrate so many American and British food holidays. Celebrating a Welsh dish that is somewhat obscure is different, for a change.
A slice of history
As we indulge in our slices of Welsh rarebit, we marvel at its history and how it is a meal that was enjoyed centuries ago! Savor the experience.
National Welsh Rarebit Day dates