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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » November 29, 2012
Regional and Traditional Products
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Jagnięcina Podhalańska—Podhale Lamb
November 29, 2012   
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Lamb from the Podhale region is the 36th Polish regional product whose name (jagnięcina podhalańska) is protected throughout the European Union.

Entered on the EU list of protected geographical indications, jagnięcina podhalańska is greatly appreciated by consumers at home and abroad. Buyers value it especially for its unique and unusual aroma and its delicate meat. The quality as well as flavor and health properties of the meat has made it a specialty of Podhale cuisine.

Thanks to hundreds of years of tradition in grazing mountain sheep, which has helped build a strong “brand,” Polish consumers identify Podhale lamb with its region of origin, an extensive area in the south of Poland. The fame of Podhale lamb is additionally consolidated by consumer awareness of the strongly rooted shepherding tradition of the region and the special affection in which highland customs are held in Poland.

Jagnięcina podhalańska is fresh meat obtained from one of the following sheep breeds: cakiel podhalański (Podhale sheep), polska owca górska (Polish mountain sheep) and polska owca górska odmiany barwnej (black Polish mountain sheep). It is the meat of lambs no older than 60 days, the carcasses weighing from 4 to 8 kg. The lambs are fed exclusively on their mothers’ milk.

They are bred in the mountains using traditional methods that have not changed in centuries, in small, extensively maintained herds. Sheep from the aforementioned breeds are grazed the whole season long, from late April to early October, in meadows near five national parks: Gorczański, Tatrzański, Pieniński, Babiogórski and Magurski, as well as scenic parks and valuable nature areas that are included in the Natura 2000 program.

The lamb breeding area from which jagnięcina podhalańska comes is strictly defined. In Silesia province it is the communes of Istebna, Milówka, Węgierska Górka, Rajcza, Ujsoły, Jele¶nia and Koszarawa. In Małopolska province, it is the whole of Nowy Targ county and Tatrzański county as well as Zawoja, Bystra and Sidzina communes in Sucha county, NiedĽwiedĽ commune and part of Kamienica commune located within the Gorczański National Park in Limanowa county, the villages of Olszówka, Raba Niżna, Łostówka, Łętowe and Lubomierz in Mszana Dolna commune, and Piwniczna, Muszyna and Krynica communes in Nowy S±cz county.

Podhale lamb has a low fat content and is exceptionally juicy. The meat’s color is pale pink and the structure is springy. The most unique and distinctive feature of jagnięcina podhalańska is its flavor and aroma, which is similar to that of game, especially venison. The flavor is due to the sheep grazing on the unique vegetation of the region. These meadows include many medicinal plants that are known and used in folk healing. These plants contain vitamins, proteins, lipids and elements such as magnesium, zinc, selenium, iodine and lithium that are essential for good health.

The geographical area where the sheep graze and Podhale lamb is produced is also home to other protected products, namely two kinds of highland cheese: oscypek and redykołka. The application for registration of jagnięcina podhalańska was prepared by the Gazdowie Tatra-Beskidy Producers’ Cooperative and the Regional association of Sheep and Goat Breeders in Nowy Targ.
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