Heston Blumenthal’s Welsh rarebit

Serves 4-6 Starters and mains




  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 250ml strong ale
  • 250g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½tbsp English mustard
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 bottle medium-dry white wine
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon
  • 1tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 bottle good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 1 loaf good sourdough bread
  • fleur de sel, for sprinkling


On a low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux. Heat the ale, but do not let it boil, and add it to the mix, stirring gently and constantly over a low heat.

Melt the cheese in a bowl placed over a pan of boiling water. When melted, pour into the mixture. Stir once to amalgamate, then remove from the heat.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, both mustards, egg yolk, salt and pepper, then transfer to a food processor and blitz until the rarebit mixture has formed an emulsion. Transfer to a bowl, allow to cool, then refrigerate.

For the accompanying vinegar, put the wine into a stainless steel pan over the heat and bring to the boil. Add the garlic, herbs and peppercorns and boil rapidly for 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and strain through a fine sieve. When the liquid has cooled down, add 25ml of white wine vinegar to every 100ml of the wine mixture and set aside.

Heat a chargrill, or preheat your oven to 225ºC/425°F/Gas 7. Slice your sourdough about 2.5cm thick – you will probably want 1-2 slices per person, depending on appetites. Brush both sides of each slice with melted butter, and chargrill or toast in the oven for 5 minutes.

Take your Welsh rarebit mixture out of the fridge and melt 40-50g per slice in a small pan. Put your sourdough slices on a baking tray and pour over the rarebit mixture. Cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown.

Sprinkle a few grains of fleurs de sel on top, and serve with the garlicky vinegar on the side, preferably café-style in a vinegar shaker.

Recipe and photograph taken from around the world in 80 dishes by David Loftus (Atlantic Books, £25).
Recipe and photograph taken from around the world in 80 dishes by David Loftus (Atlantic Books, £25).


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