Competitors get the Bara Brith taste of Wales
By Ceidiog Hughes
It’s where Wales meets the world – with a slab of tasty Bara Brith. The traditional favourite helps give competitors a warm and authentic Welsh welcome when they arrive at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. They come from five continents to compete at the annual festival of singing and dancing. It’s a massive undertaking for the dedicated members of the Hospitality Committee who find accommodation for up to 2,000 people every year.
The first port of call for overseas visitors is the welcome centre near the main entrance. There, the famished competitors, many of whom have travelled thousands of miles, can have a bite to eat and a cup of tea or coffee.
This year Wales’s oldest family firm of bakers, Gerrards, who have a shop in Llangollen, stepped into the breach following a plea from Sandra Roberts, Chair of the Hospitality Committee. They have provided sponsorship in kind by supplying 1,200 sausage rolls, 130 loaves of their best-selling Snowdonia Recipe Bara Brith and 130 loaves of bread. According to Mrs Roberts, the Bara Brith is a particular favourite with the overseas competitors. That was backed up by 12-year old Lera Bagumian, a member of the Barvinochok troupe of singers and dancers from Kiev, in the Ukraine.
She said: “I have never been to Wales before and I have never tasted Bara Brith until today but it is very good. I like it a lot and I am hoping to take some home with me.” Mrs Roberts’s family has been involved with the Eisteddfod since it was founded in 1947 as a way of promoting world peace and harmony in the aftermath of the Second World War. She said: “I’m not giving my age away but I was a young girl when the Eisteddfod started so I have grown up with it. It’s a unique event and we try to give people a traditional warm Welsh welcome. They like the Bara Brith, it goes down really well and the sponsorship in kind from Gerrards has been like a pot of gold opening up for us. It’s an absolute boon – I can’t tell you how much this has helped.”
According to Gerrards Director Dawn van Rensburg, a member of the sixth generation of the family to run the company, they were delighted to be able to help out. She said: “The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is an international treasure and an event of which we in Wales can be hugely proud. It is a melting pot of colour and international harmony that has done a huge amount in terms of promoting the notion of world peace. We were so pleased to be able to help in our own way by providing some of our bakery goods. I am thrilled to hear that the Snowdonia Recipe Bara Brith has gone down so well because it gives the competitors a real taste of Wales.”