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In April we will find agneau sous la mere (lamb that has never eaten grass, only mother's milk) and agneau pre sale (lamb that has fed on salty, semi-tidal grass). Agneau: (French) lamb. Agneau de lait: milk-fed lamb. Agneau pascal: spring lamb. Agneau de pre-sale: lamb from salt meadows, particularly on French Atlantic coast. Another area specialty is 'agneau pre sale' which can be found in some small coastal villages. It is lamb that has been fed on salt marshes by the sea. L’Agneau pré-salé is a mythic word to many gourmets. The lamb from the borderlands between Normandy and Brittany grazed on the salt herbal marshes, periodically drenched by seawater, and often whipped by the salty winds from the ocean.

Le grévin, grazed on the salt marshes surrounding the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is perhaps the most famous of the four pré-salé lamb varieties or brands. The others are L’estran from the bay of Somme et d’Authie, the Agneau des herbus from d’Ille et Villaine and the Agneau des Havres du Cotentin from Havres du Cotentin. The total production is a little more than 10000 lambs a year.

Only certain more rustic lamb races thrive under the particular and challenging conditions on the salt marshes. The grévin is a cross from Suffolk.

The lamb’s high consumption of salt and iodine results in a meat with a more tender and juicier muscle cell tissue. The difference is quite extraordinary. Also, the particular flora with more than 60 different herbs results in a very particular and distinctive taste that is not too pronounced by lamb-like flavors but rather by the fresh herbs. Pré-salé lamb is generally commercialized at a slightly older age than other famous French lamb with a normal age of around 120-200 days old.

Pré-salé meat benfits from aging. It may not be sold to butchers before three days after slaughter. Two weeks after slaughter the texture of the lamb shows an exceptional tenderness and juiciness.

This legendary produce was served as Selle de pré-salé ŕ la régence as the main course at the Nobel Prize dinner in 1910 apparently together with Chateau Lafite.
PS. If somebody wants to see more, let visit: http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/photo104006.htm

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Additional Photos by Ghost Cat (jasmis) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3162 W: 831 N: 3819] (58603)
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