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Cocktail menu inspired by the Mabinogion

20 July 2017

Cardiff University’s Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh and a renowned scholar on the Mabinogion, has used her expertise to help develop a cocktail menu for a local bar, inspired by these medieval Welsh tales.

The Dead Canary, located on Barrack Lane in the heart of the capital, is a stylish 1920’s Prohibition inspired bar that serves eclectic, freshly prepared cocktails with a twist. Bar Manager Todd Crawford explains that in preparing the new menu the team: “wanted to explore the rich heritage of Wales using both ancient tales from folklore and also very natural, herbal ingredients used widely in the past”.

He continued: “With our focus landing on the Mabinogion, and with Sioned's translation of the book being the one we primarily used, after we had created the majority of the menu we decided to get in touch with her to see if she would be able to look over it for us. Sioned did more than that and went out of her way to ensure all the translations were correct and provide us with extra detail and names we hadn't thought of.”

The menu was officially launched on Thursday 22 June 2017. Professor Davies and staff from the School of Welsh attended and enjoyed sampling the many different creations which are named after characters, themes and objects found within the Mabinogion.

Professor Davies was surprised and intrigued when initially asked to be involved. She said: “When I was first approached by Todd, I thought what a wonderful and exciting idea. I was happy to provide some additional insight into the world of the Mabinogion and assist with translations. Helping inspire a cocktail menu may not be the first thing that springs to mind when considering ‘research impact’ but it is a fantastic opportunity for a wide, public audience to learn more about the tales.

“When we attended the launch, seeing copies of my English translation of the Mabinogion available and used to house the menu was great fun. I congratulate Todd and the team at The Dead Canary for their inspired thinking and for wanting to represent Welsh literary heritage and culture in this way.”

Todd added: “We're very grateful to Sioned for taking the time to help us out, and the reception by our guests to the new menu has been fantastic so far!”

Professor Davies’ 2007 English translation of the Mabinogion was the first such translation for 30 years and has become an invaluable resource in academic, literary and cultural circles. It recreates the storytelling world of medieval Wales and re-invests the tales with the power of performance. The book has sold very well all around the world and introduced the medieval Welsh texts to a new, international audience of enthusiasts.

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