The Agnello di Sardegna PGI refers to fresh meat obtained from lambs belonging to Sardinian breeds, using free-range and semi-intensive systems. Agnello di Sardegna PGI da Latte (suckling lambs) weigh between 4,5 and 8,5 kg and are fed on the mother’s milk. The other two categories, Agnello di Sardegna Leggero – baby lamb between 8,5 and 10 kg – and da Taglio - spring lamb between 10 and 13 kg – derive from the crossbreeding of Sardinian ewes with Ile-de-France and Berrichon-du-chere rams or other highly specialized meat breeds.
The production area of Agnello di Sardegna PGI is within the entire territory of the Sardinia region.
The lambs live with their mothers and are therefore reared with free-range and semi-intensive systems. Only in winter can they be sheltered in special covered structures. The Agnello di Sardegna PGI suckling lambs feed on milk from their mothers, while for the baby and spring lambs the milk is integrated with fodder and fresh or dried cereals. Heads suitable for producing the PGI are tagged by the breeders with a green mark on the ear, so that the animals are can always be distinguished from those that are not part of the PGI certification system. The slaughtering of the PGI animals takes place separately and, after the carcass has been checked to ensure that it meets the standards of the product specification, a label with the Consortium and PGI marks, category, cut and abattoir is attached.
Appearance and Flavour
Agnello di Sardegna PGI has a pale pink colour and a firm consistency. The fat is white, firm and particularly concentrated on the exterior surface and around the kidneys. The meat, which is characterised by its intense flavour and smell, is tender, succulent and easily digestible.
Agnello di Sardegna PGI is fruit of a millenary culture and ancient tradition; that of shepherding, which has forever been closely linked to the history and economy of the island. The first evidence dates back to even before the Nuragic period (3000 B.C.). Even Vergil, in the Georgics, cites the common practice of Sardinian shepherds and Libyans to use wild pasture-grazing and free range methods throughout the year. The trading of suckling lambs in Sardinia has a long history: already in the early XX century they were being transported to the ports by train, in wicker baskets, destined for the markets of the Italian peninsula.
Agnello di Sardegna PGI can be kept in the fridge for several days: the high Vitamin E content, a natural antioxidant, protects the meat’s nutritional, functional and sensory characteristics. The white meat, very tender and lean, is easily digestible and rich in “first class” proteins. It can be roasted or stewed with seasonal vegetables, as well being used in sauces and minestrone soups. It should be paired with medium-structured red wines
The product is marketed as Agnello di Sardegna PGI in the following typologies: da Latte, Leggero and da Taglio. It is sold whole or portioned. The cuts are as follows: for da Latte – half-carcass, fore and hind quarter, short-forequarters, head and pluck (heart, lungs and liver); for Leggero and da Taglio – whole, half-carcass, fore and hind quarter, short-forequarters, head, pluck (heart, lungs and liver), whole leg, fore rib and thin rib, loin, rump, casco (shoulder, lower rib, fore-high rib, neck), farfalla (shoulders together with the neck), cosciotto (leg, thigh, sacroiliac part and hind loin), cosciotto accorciato (sacroiliac hind part and hind loins), sella (sacroiliac part with or without the final lumbar vertebra), tenderloin, rack of lamb (either the upper dorsal part including the first and the second ribs or the front part including the first five dorsal vertebra), whole shoulder, neck upper ribs. The weight varies according to the typology: 4,5 to 8,5 kg for da Latte; from 8,5 to 10 kg for Leggero; from 10 to 13 kg for da Taglio.
Agnello di Sardegna PGI is distinguished by its strong flavour, which is determined by the natural environment in which it is reared, characterized by large open spaces exposed to the sun and winds that are typical of the Sardinian climate.