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Sardinian lamb – ancestral symbol of the island’s rural traditions

Beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, wide stretches of undulating, sun-drenched land and endless flocks of sheep is what immediately comes to mind when one thinks of Sardinia. Yes – sheep, and there are more than three million of them on the island. Then again, the Sardinia’s pastoral culture dates back to the pre-Nuragic period – as far back as the third millennium B.C. – and lamb is the ancestral symbol of this, the undisputed protagonist of an ancient tradition that has always been closely linked to the history and economy of the island.
Sardinian lamb is highly nutritious and flavoursome as well as being the proud holder of the European PGI mark (Commission Regulation EC No. 138/01 of 24 January 2001 and Decree of 28 October 2005 issued by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) due to its special characteristics. Tender and lean, this white meat is also easily digestible and rich in noble proteins so it is especially recommended for people needing light but high-energy food. In addition, it is a natural source of vitamin E, the most important natural cell membrane antioxidant, and Omega 3, with an average value of the ω6/ω3 ratio close to one.
So what makes Sardinian lamb so unique? Most certainly the animals’ excellent diet, thanks to the characteristic wild plants of the Sardinian pastures, but also the very fact of being in Sardinia, an island whose climate guarantees, first and foremost, genuineness and product quality.
It is surely the total freedom the animals enjoy which makes Sardinian lamb one of a kind. The lambs, just like many centuries ago, are mainly reared in the wild in large areas in direct contact with the sun, wind and fresh air. They are not subjected to stress, adulterated food or manipulations of any kind. Instead, they have a healthy, balanced diet, in complete harmony with nature, which is born out of a great respect for ancient farming practices. Today, Sardinian farmers have to battle against people sought on disrupting their ancient and deep-rooted tradition in order to make profit and thus cause damage to the entire system. This is the case when foreign lambs nonconforming to European specifications are sold as Sardinian lambs and is a problem which the Protection Consortium intends to put a stop to.