Seaweed was on the television last night as part of “Back to the Land with Kate Humble“. This series champions the UK’s most inspirational rural entrepreneurs. In last night’s episode she met a seaweed collector who left an office job in Swindon for a life working on the beach and is now running a successful business selling Welsh seaweed products to a global market.
The company is called The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company and Jonathan gathers a range of seaweeds on the Pembrokeshire coast continuing a tradition of hundreds of years. There is reproduction of a seaweed drying hut nearby, there were many in this area once . The company uses seaweed in:
* takeaway food sold at his beach café (street food outlet) and many outdoor festivals (e.g. Laver relish on burgers / gingercake with Laver etc.)
* in products – dried flakes, seaweed salts, butter, “kelchup” (yes Kelp Ketchup!) and more – sold globally including to the Japanese (“coals to Newcastle” eat you heart out!)
I visited the café on holiday a few years ago and the Gingerbread was stunning. I did email Jonathan for the recipe, he replied:
That is a top secret recipe, but to help guide you we use extra ginger (i.e. ginger powder and fresh ginger), Welsh Stout and Welshman’s Caviar (his dried Laver product name – apparently a phrase coined by the Welsh actor Richard Burton).
You can watch the episode (if you are in the UK) here – forward to 21:12 (to 28:26).
My only criticism is I disagree with pulling seaweed directly off the rocks, I recommend cutting it.