Barmbrack (or simply brack) is a traditional Halloween bread/cake whose roots can be traced back to Ireland. The interesting thing about brack is what it has hidden inside…
These days, due to health and safety reasons, it is hard to find a shop-bought barmbrack with all the traditional items hidden in it. But, when baked backed home, a collection of items such as the likes of a ring, a stick, piece of cloth, a single pea and a coin can usually be found hidden inside. But what is the significance of such items? The bread was used as a type of fortune telling game. Each hidden item, when received in a slice, had a different meaning. Usually related to marriage or riches.
- Ring: receiving a ring would mean that you would be wed within the year.
- Cloth: a piece of cloth is not so good, and it meant you would either be poor or have bad luck.
- Coin: a coin, usually a silver sixpence, meant you would enjoy riches or good fortune.
- Pea: the pea meant you would not marry that year.
- Stick: finding a stick meant that you would live through an unhappy marriage with many disputes between you and your partner.
Today the only item you’d find in the brack would usually be a ring. But you can keep the tradition alive by making your own brack with all the items. Come by our workshop on 5 Mary Street, Dublin City Centre where you can find the perfect (and inexpensive) ring to use.
Just make sure all items are sterilised and be careful no one chokes or breaks a tooth this Halloween.