Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ordering Lamb in France. Agneau de Pré- Salé (Pre sale) The unique lambs raised on the salt marshes, mostly along France's Atlantic coast.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan Newman

 Photo by courtesy of by Steve; his web site is
An Agneau de Pré- Salé lamb from the fields of St-Valery,  Picardie.

Lamb will be on many more restaurant menus in France than those of North America or the UK; French menus will also offer a far wider variety of recipes. If you enjoy roast lamb or grilled lamb, which the French prepare very well, they will expect that you prefer lamb slightly rare, rosé in French.When roast lamb or grilled lamb dishes are on the menu, French waiters, unlike with beef, will rarely ask how you want your lamb cooked. If you have ideas that do not include lamb rosé, then advise and discuss your preferences with your waiter when ordering. 


 Agneau de Pré- Salé - Most agneau de pré- salé lamb may be sold when 5 - 9 months old; they will all have been raised by their mothers. Then, for at least 60 days they must be allowed to graze in the salt meadows on France’s Atlantic shores. On the coast of Bretagne, Brittany and Normandie, Normandy, and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, each village and farm where these lambs are raised, claims their pré- salé lambs are the best.  


Photo by courtesy of the Comité du Tourisme Haute Bretagne Ille-et-Vilaine.

 Agneau de Pré- Salé lambs AOC with the island of Mont-Saint-Michel  in the backround.


 Pré- salé lambs will have been free to roam and eat in the open pastures, close to the sea. The sea-air and the sea salt flavors the grasses that the lambs feed on;  that creates a wonderful and unique, but certainly not even a slightly salty taste.  Groups of agneau de pré- salé lamb farmers are now giving their lambs brand names, and more French menus are noting the specific village or the area around the town where the lamb are raised. For lamb, succesful branding and recognition means higher prices for the farmer, and hopefully a better product for the consumer. 


    Carré d’Agneau des Prés Salés Rôti aux Fines Herbes – A rack of pré- salé lamb roasted with the  herb group called Fine Herbes.


    Do not let every French title impress you,  Pré- Salé Agneau Gallois, may be on your menu, however, these are a tasty Gaelic import from Wales in the UK. Wales in French is Pays de Galles, and their fine pré- salé lambs are an important Welsh export; they will be excellent, even if they are not from France.


Photo by coutesy of Andrea Riganti, Her photographs may be seen at

Agneau de Pré- Salé lambs AOC  in the fields below the island of Mont-Saint-Michel.

   Two pré- salé lamb brands have been awarded AOC ratings for their unique and consistent quality. In alphabetical order the first is the prés-salés de la Baie de Somme AOC, named after the Bay of the Somme in Picardie, and the second is the prés-salés du Mont-Saint-Michel AOC,  pictured above, from the island of Mont-Saint-Michel off the Normandie coast. Both these pré- salé lambs must be raised by their mother’s for 60-90 days, and then when naturally weaned allowed to graze freely in the salt meadows for at least 75 days. These lambs will be on French menus  between July and February.  Mont-Saint-Michel is also famous for its unique and also AOC rated Moules de Bouchot, small mussels.



chtifiun said...
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chtifiun said...
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