National Welsh Rarebit Day – by Joe Scrizzi

Recipe by Joe Scrizzi

National Welsh Rarebit Day is observed annually on September 3rd.

What is a rarebit?  It is actually a Welsh term for “rabbit.” Not unlike mock turtle soup having no turtle in it, Welsh rarebit does not contain rabbit. This dish is made with toast that has hot cheese poured over it. 

In the 18th century, Welsh rarebit with served as a succulent supper and was also known as a tavern dish. It was mostly made with cheddar cheeses and a wheat type bread, as opposed to the typical European fondue with Swiss cheeses.  As with any dish, there are different versions and variations of Welsh Rarebit.  Some of the ingredients fouled in some recipes or Cayenne pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, and paprika. 

Most may not know what this is or have ever heard about it. At a young age of 19, I found out exactly what it was while working at Hess’s Patio Restaurant in Downtown Allentown. It is a Cheese Sauce/Dip of sorts.

I would make this once a week. As we all remember Hess’s portions were huge! 

It was served in a bowl with Toast Points and garnished with Fresh Tomatoes and Parsley.

A lot of memories have flooded my thoughts as I write this. The foods I was exposed to & friends I made. I never imagined the icon Downtown Allentown store would close. 


This recipe is from memory, switching the garnish slightly from sliced tomatoes to rough chopped. I hope you enjoy it!


Cheese Rarebit 

1/2 C. Butter

1/2 C. Flour

 4 C. Whole Milk

1 C. Cream (light cream will work)

2 T. Dijon Mustard

1 T. Worcheshire Sauce

2 to 3 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese 

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Parsley, Fresh, Minced

Plum Tomatoes, seeds/pulp removed, coarsely chopped. 

Bread, toasted, cut into points 

Pour milk and cream into a medium stockpot. Turn on the heat and bring mixture to a slight simmer. This will cut the cook time in half. 

Make the Roux: 

Melt butter and add flour in a large heavy stockpot. Be careful not to burn the butter and flour mixture, continuous whisking. Add dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the roux after a few minutes. Whisk in warmed milk, 1 cup at a time to the roux. Continue adding milk until all incorporated, breaking up lumps. Add a few grinds of salt & pepper.

Start adding cheese a little at a time,  whisking after each addition until melted and smooth. Once all the cheese has been added, taste and adjust seasoning.


Toast 1 slice of bread, remove crusts and place on bottom of bowl.

Ladle Rarebit into bowl carefully, about an inch from the brim.

Line brim with Toast Points and garnish with Chopped Tomatoes & Fresh Parsley.

Have extra toast on hand to share!


 ~ Bon Appetite