The secret of the Texel lamb

Denise Kortlever, maandag 6 mei 2013

Texel lamb gets raving reviews and is praised all over the world. Even Dutch Queen Beatrix is said to be a fan and rumour has it that it is served when she hosts state banquets for foreign Heads of State. The secret behind Texel lamb is its unique taste: a light salty flavour, derived from the salty air and saline soil, it’s extremely tender and juicy.

Texel is full of sheep – there are currently as many sheep as there are people on the island, roughly 14,000 – and because it has been that way for generations, the islanders have lots of experience and product knowledge. Well-known local butcher Goënga explains how Texel lamb perfectly combines great taste and excellent conformation. The lambs are all Texelaars, the local sheep breed, and raised on small farms where they have lots of space to graze on the vast fields. Original Texel lamb meat comes from lambs that are at least a hundred days old, which means they were able to run on pasture land and eat the local grass for more than three months. And as they are raised and slaughtered on Texel, the lambs never experience stressful transfers, which positively affects the taste of their meat.

Lamb is available from April until the end of November. The season starts with suckling lamb: very young and tender meat that is only available for a few months a year. From September onwards, there’s ‘grass lamb', very delicate, but with a somewhat stronger taste. When visiting Texel, it is almost obligatory to enjoy this special meat and with the huge variety of culinary lamb products to choose from on the island  – from the famous lamb ham to sausages and from lamb rack to croquettes – this is by no means an ungrateful task.