Selecting a gift is an art. I like to think that the gifts I choose are ones that the recipient will like and enjoy, thankfully this was definitely the case when I sent a freshly baked baked Bara Brith to my mother for a treat on her 75th birthday. Some time ago Mum had asked me if I could bake her a Bara Brith as she loved it so much but baking wasn't her thing. To be honest baking isn't my thing either but luckily I know Baked by Mel!
MeI started baking as a business as a single parent with two small boys living on Machen mountain, outside Caerphilly and today she sends out Bara Birth by post and attends many great events so you can easily get your paws on it.
I first met Mel at The Welsh Emporium at the London Welsh Centre, thanks to a tweet from Angharad of The Preservation Society who wasn't there but suggested visitors went to see Mel, so of course we went! Myself and the girls enjoyed seeing many of our Welsh friends and makers all in one place and of course the tasting was a bonus! When we first met my girls we having one of their bickerages but one of Mel's signature smiles (and what a smile!), a proper cwtch and a slice of her Bara Brith soon put a smile on their cheeks and some fire in their belly. From that moment all thoughts of baking Bara Brith at home were forgotten. Here was a perfect, tasty gift that would come to be a staple on my gift list!
Mel is an infectious and enthusiastic bubble of warmth. After London Welsh she sent me a message to say it was so nice to meet me and the girls, referring to us as the Babooshkas. That name has stuck and when I said we were off to the Abergavenny Food Festival on baby Babooshka's 13th birthday she said we must go and see her. Of course we would! Baked by Mel was THE stand we made a beeline for! Thankfully we arrived just at the right time as her stand was a sell out, which comes as no surprise as her Bara Brith has a 2014 Great Taste Award. Baby Babooshka was given a choice of birthday treat and chose a brownie. It will come as no surprise that she has declared Mel's brownie as "the best I have ever tasted".
Don't just take my word for it though! Check out the events she will be attending or order some Bara Brith by post and then you will taste first hand what we are talking about. My mum loved it and she's one of those hard to buy for people, so it's a win win!