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Lamb of Belle-île

On the french territory, the ovine farming is focused towards meat or milk production. The ovine meat is, most often, produced from young animals (less than 6 months old). The ovines are present all across France but are very different depending on the territories : humid meadows, prairies, high plateau or mountain landscapes, the methods of production arre different, as are the races, since some races of sheep adapt better to peculiar weather and territiories.


A token of an environmental balance 

This production is for the most part based on grass-based farming in small to medium farms. These farms are oftentimes family farms, and exist from generation to generation. This production allows the maintenance of the landscapes and is food independent as to limit the importations or the transport of fodder and cereales. On top of this, it’s a true asset for the biodiversity : since the sheep flock upkeeps the meadows it allows for the balance between the fauna –such as pollinating insects like the black bee- and flora to be respected.

Although the lamb of Belle-île-en-mer cannot be qualified as a “pré salé” lamb (salt marsh lamb) -since the sea does not cover the meadows as it does in the Mont Saint Michel- it benefits from a unique designation “agneau du large” (offshore lamb), used to describe a meat with an unrivalled taste, only possible thanks to the exceptional oceanic climate of the island. To benefit from the designation, which was created in 1994, the sheep need to have been born on the island, to spend a minimum of 60 days in the meadows and to only feed from the farm’s produce.

 

The « Agneau du Large » association

Created in 1994 by the syndicat d’élevage (breeder’s union), the association contains 4 farms and the butcher’s shop of Le Palais (who makes a lot of handmade plates), this shop is the only one that can sell the meat sold as salt marsh lamb. This implies that you need to make the choice to be exclusive to this butcher’s shop to sell your lamb, which stops some farmers from getting the designation even if their lambs are raised in the same way.

 

The lamb agriculture on Belle-île:

 Out of the 36 farms on the island, 13 are lamb farms.

 

  • 12 farms produce meat
  • 1 farm makes yogurt and cheese with its sheeps' milk
  • Every year, 2800 lambs are born and raised in Belle-île
  • When the lambs reach the age of 6 months old, they are slaughtered at the slaughterhouse of Belle-île, that is, only 15km away from the farm!
  • The meat is then sold directly to the customers, to craftspersons and local shopkeepers (butcher's shops, supermarkets, restaurants, caterers), who then cut it and prepare it to finally sell it

 

Different races of lamb on the island 

 

For the meat : Rouge de l’Ouest, Vendéen, Charollais
For the milk : Lacaune
A small part of these lambs come from an old race called « race de Deux » or « mouton de Deux » which means sheep of two, this name describes a race that’s very fertile (from 2 to 3 lambs per female). This old population, that could be found on Belle-île during the 80s, comes from the crossing of a Morbihan race with a Flemish sheep in the 18th century. It owes its survival thanks to the insularity, which stopped the crossing with english races.

 

Where can you buy lamb meat on Belle-île ? 

 

Lamb of Belle-île

 

The producers : EARL Viligam, GAEC Chanclu, P. Canevet, Y. Jouan, GAEC des Brebis, N. Guégan, H. Gallene, E. Amouroux.

The selling points  : Au Coin des Producteurssupermarkets Super U et Casino, restaurants and convenience stores of the island and you can find some producers who sell their lamb directly at the farm !


Offshore Lamb

 

The producers : P. Thomas, J. Le Doux, A. Portugal, D. Guégan

The selling points : butcher’s shop of Le Palais.

 

How and where can you eat Offshore Lamb ?

 

There’s a thousand different ways to enjoy your lamb. From the most simple to the most original, we give you a few ideas of recipes invented by Chefs and to try out in our best restaurants or suggested by our caterers and that you can recreate at home !

 

 

Saddles of Lamb with Kombu and Barnacles, a recipe from the Chef Laurent Clément that you can try at the Hôtel du Phare in Sauzon !  

 

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