The origins of the traditional Welsh Tea Loaf remains one of Wales’ mysteries. Steeped in oral tradition, recipes for this Welsh version of the fruit loaf have remained in familial households for generations. If the buttered Bara Brith you remember from your auntie wasn’t your favourite, surely it would’ve been your mother or grannies. It’s said that for every 8 loaves of Bara Brith, there are at least 10 recipes! Welsh settlers to Patagonia in the 1800’s continued the tradition on the South American continent, who knows where else it will spread?
When Mel Constantinou first undertook the challenge of baking her family version of this fruit-filled, tea-soaked favourite, she had no idea it would lead to a a whole new way of life.
A few short years later and Baked by Mel’s Bara Brith has become a double award winning product at The Great Taste Awards, been presented to Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, been stocked at London’s prestigious Fortnum & Mason, been featured on numerous radio shows, newspapers and magazines.
Bara Brith is a traditional loaf baked from the remnants of dried fruit, which are usually steeped in strong tea and left to soak overnight. Most recipes use raisins or sultanas as the fruit source, as these absorb the most of the tea, but essentially any fruit can be used. Mixed Spice is added for lovely warming flavour, how much all depends on the family recipe!
The ‘speckle’ in our speckled bread is from sultanas, but we’ve experimented with lots of fruits.
When some restaurants asked us if we could create a more savoury version of our loaf, we went back to the drawing board and came up with our 2018 award-winning Walnut & Ale Bara Brith.
Made with dark ale and walnuts, this new loaf is a great accompaniment to a cheeseboard, or eaten with lashings of butter with a mug of tea.