Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Languedoc Roussillon - Suckling Lamb

Lamb “sous la mère” or suckling lamb is a speciality of the Languedoc Roussillion region. The lambs are raised in the mountains of Lozère and the Pyrenees. Before they are fully weaned, they are fed on grass from the meadowland, as well as their mother's milk . They are sold throughout the region under several local brand names.

The Lozère Lamb (l'agneau de Lozère) has its own AOC and the Lozère is the northern most part of Languedoc-Roussillon. The area is divided into four natural regions distinguished by their different rock: the Aubrac (basalt), the Margaride (granite), the Cevennes (shale), and the Causses (limestone) including the Tarn and Jonte Gorges and the Lot Valley.

The breeds of sheep in the Lozère are the Blanc du Massif Central (from the Massif Central to the North of Lozère). This breed is sometimes known as the Blanc de Lozère and the flocks predominate the Margaride area.

The Caussenarde des Garrigues, a type of the semi-coarse wooled Blanc du Massif Central, evolved from breeds native to the scrub land of the Garrigues region and the lime-stone Causses south east of the Massif Central. The breed is found south of the Cévennes in the departments of Hérault and Gard.

The Rouge du Roussillon (locally known as the Rouge du Littoral) is a medium-fine wool breed in the lowlands of south eastern Pyrénées Orientales department. The origin of the breed is unknown but it's thought that they could have North African origin (it is sometimes called the Tunisian Barbary) and was introduced to France via Spain.

The Raiola has been threatened with extinction since the early 1960s and only a few farmers, mainly on the summer pastures of Mount Aigoual have kept the race. It is now recognised and protected and can be seen in the Cevennes National Park.


Pam said...

Great informative post! Good that the Raiola are protected now!

We had many sheep on our farm in Ohio and I remember bottle-feeding lambs whose mother's refused them. I thought it was great as they were so cute and fun!

Sue said...

Thanks Pam - you are lucky to have bottle fed lambs - it's something I have always wanted to do!

Pam said...

Sue, this was years ago... We used large glass Pepsi bottles and put a large black nipple on it. They were just like babies and I loved it when we could do it, I always helped. Then one year, there was a black lamb in the group and of course he became our pet. I never could eat lamb back then!