TO celebrate Love Lamb Week 2021 (1-7 September) PGI Welsh Lamb have teamed up with leading London chef Francesco Mazzei in what is sure to be a tasty fusion of high-end Italian and Welsh cuisine.
The industry-wide initiative is now in its seventh year and will focus on the sustainability of lamb production in this country and the role it plays in maintaining the unique landscapes that we know and love.
Fresh from his appearance on ITV1’s ‘Cooking with the Stars’, where he teamed up with celebrity Denise van Outen, Francesco will be sharing four of his favourite Welsh Lamb dishes, including a succulent shoulder fornarina, burrata filled meatballs and braised lamb ossobuco.
Born and raised in Calabria, Francesco started his food career very early when he worked at his uncle’s gelateria from the age of nine, and has since worked in restaurants all over the world, including Rome, Bangkok and London. A familiar face on television through his regular appearances on the likes of Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen, since 2015 he has been chef patron of Sartoria in Mayfair, and in that time published his first cookbook specialising in southern Italian cooking.
Kicking off the celebrations on 1 September, Francesco will hold a dinner at his Sartoria restaurant showcasing the versatility of Welsh Lamb and how it lends itself to so many different cuisines, including Italian. Showing how Welsh Lamb can be a part of people’s cooking repertoire and not just reserved for Sunday dinner, Francesco says, “I’ve always been passionate about sourcing quality ingredients, which is why, over the years, I’ve been a strong advocate for Welsh Lamb. It’s an exceptional product to work with as it’s so versatile and has a lovely taste. It’s been reared in a natural environment, without intervention, so it’s just as it should be – a natural product from start to finish. We have our farmers to thank for that. I’m delighted to be showcasing beautiful Welsh Lamb during Love Lamb Week.”
Starting back in 2015 to promote and highlight the passion and dedication farmers give day after day to producing quality food, Love Lamb Week has grown over the years to be a key date in the foodie diary. This year it will be focusing on how the industry has strong sustainability credentials and how the Welsh way of farming is largely non-intensive and very different compared with some of the more industrial systems found in other parts of the world.
In Wales, sheep are overwhelmingly reared on its natural resources, such as grass and rainwater, and 80% of its farmland is unsuitable for growing crops, thereby making raising livestock the most efficient way to turn marginal land into high-quality food. Furthermore, grassland in the Welsh hills captures carbon from the atmosphere, with farmers managing it through a combination of age-old traditional practices coupled with more modern methods.
Rhys Llywelyn, Market Development Manager for Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, added: “We know from our previous work with Francesco that he’s a passionate advocate of Welsh Lamb and we’re delighted to be working with him this year around Love Lamb Week.
“As you can see from the four delicious recipes he’s created for us, when high-quality components like Welsh Lamb and Italian cuisine come together, it really is a match made in heaven, and I’d urge you to visit our website and try his dishes for yourself at home.”
You can learn more about this year’s Love Lamb Week and Francesco’s recipes at eatwelshlamb.com.