What meat comes from sheep
And the result was very interesting: In the raw variant, the "alpine races" such as Jura, mountain sheep and Walliser Schwarznase actually managed to convince with fine herbal aromas and sometimes even saltiness, whereas lowland meat races such as Merino and Texel were tasteless. In the roasted version, the Tyrolean mountain sheep convinced most of the jurors, its meat turned out to be juicy, conveying a pleasant mouthfeel and without particularly eccentric aromas. And this is exactly where the wheat is separated from the lamb: Should it taste as neutral and "meaty" as possible or "intense", not to say "interesting", such as the meat of the Valais black nose with a particularly expressive aroma, the Carinthian Spectacled sheep with its nutty and spicy nuances, the sweetish, juicy meat of the Jura sheep or the meat of the racky sheep, which is almost game-like and has a pithy bite?
A question that is difficult to answer, even with a blind tasting of lamb breeds, which undoubtedly portrayed a true majority taste. After the results were announced, Josef Mühlmann found that he not only liked the look of the meat of the alpine stone sheep best, he also tasted it best, both raw and roasted. No wonder, he explains that this is exactly the sheep that he has dealt with since childhood, which his mother made a specialty of the Gannerhof in the 1980s. In the overall ranking, it rather fell through. The fate of the two “pirates” in the tasting was also remarkable: The dark, intensely spicy, lean meat of a young billy goat convinced the more daring eaters in the jury, after all, it ended up in fourth place, the meat of the wild sheep Mouflon went in Most of the jurors missed the topic too much because of its dark, aromatic, wildly spicy crunch. Whereby it was absolutely delicious, as you have to note at this point and the unconditional recommendation to enjoy this meat wherever you can get hold of it.
In fact, the trend in lamb is clearly going in the direction of the "majority" taste, that is, rosy, tender, short-fiber meat with a maximum of subtly sweet, but otherwise as little taste as possible. And that in turn is not obtained from animals of a special breed, but above all from animals of a special age, namely a maximum of six months. This has long been the standard for lambs from New Zealand and Australia, local retail chains also write this in their requirement profile, and the Austrian sheep breeding associations are currently considering including these parameters in their statutes, reveals Matthias Zehetner. Which would have far-reaching consequences for domestic, but above all for alpine sheep breeding: when kept on high alpine pastures, lambs do not reach an economically acceptable slaughter weight during this time, and as "young sheep", as the lamb would have to be called after six months (currently if this limit is twelve months), the meat would be about as easy to sell as if it were labeled "mutton" ...
He has customers from top gastronomy, says Tauernlamm boss Matthias Zehetner, who buy the lamb from New Zealand for the lunch menu, but they get the meat for the evening menu from him. In other words, local goods with “character” and aromatic peculiarities, which are less due to the breed of the sheep than to the current feed supply on the alpine pastures, after all, robust mountain breeds and modern meat breeds are usually crossed in everyday lamb breeding in order to enjoy the benefits to come from both.
And who knows, maybe there will soon also be a third quality level, where the meat of the purebred Walliser Schwarznase, Juraschaf, Zackelschaf or the Tyrolean mountain sheep like Mangalitza, Turopolje, Black Angus, Simmenthaler, Wagyu and Charolais is offered. And maybe this tasting will have helped. Who knows.
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