On the eve of St David’s Day, S4C’s rural affairs series, Ffermio launches a nationwide search for the best Welsh cakes in Wales in a patriotic competition to be launched on Monday, 26 February at 8.25pm on S4C.
As presenter Alun Elidyr explains in the programme today (Monday, 26 February, 8.25pm, English subtitles available, S4C), there is presently a serious shortage in Wales of the cast iron needed to make the griddles or bakestones that are essential for cooking the perfect Welsh cake.
This kind of bakestone needed – called a ‘planc’ or ‘maen’ in Welsh – is a thick cast-iron griddle which heats the cakes slowly and evenly. However, cast-iron has become scarce in post-industrial Wales since the disappearance of the iron furnaces, once common in Wales.
But, as the programme reveals, a new venture in Swansea, run by a young businessman originally from Cardiff, is aiming to fill the void.
Caerwyn Ash found a gap in the bakestone market when he and his brother tried to look for an old-fashioned cast-iron griddle to make Welsh cakes.
Caerwyn, 25, of The Welsh Griddle Company explains, “I was reminiscing with the family a year ago about the times when our Grandmother used to make Welsh cakes for us. My brother and I decided to trawl the internet to search for a cast-iron griddle for us to buy in order to make our own Welsh cakes, but we drew a blank. I found that very strange as a proud Welshman who loves his Welsh cakes.
“As my background is in engineering, I decided to source the cast iron myself and start making my own Welsh griddles, packaging them with a Welsh recipe book. Since The Welsh Griddle Company was launched, there has been a huge demand for the griddles, in Wales and beyond.”
Caerwyn’s venture inspired Ffermio to set a challenge for viewers and surfers by launching a competition to find ‘Wales’ Best Welsh Cake’.
Production company Teledu Telesgop is offering a prize for the best Welsh cake sent to its Swansea headquarters. A team of expert judges from the award-winning farming magazine will enjoy a taste fest during the coming two weeks as they whet their appetite on hundreds of Welsh cake entries.
"We're asking S4C viewers to send their Welsh cakes through the post by 5 March," saysTerwyn Davies, Ffermio’s interactive director. “Every Welsh cake will be tried and judged, and the winner of the best Welsh cake announced on 12 March. The lucky winner will receive a special shield commissioned by Ffermio.”
Full details of the competition can be found on the Ffermio website, ffermio.tv and the address for sending Welsh cakes is Welsh Cake Competition, Teledu Telesgôp, Unit 13, Technium 1, King's Road, SWANSEA. SA1 8PH