'Abbacchio romano' gets EU seal Rome's roast suckling lamb protected from imitations
Roast suckling lamb called 'abbacchio romano', has joined the host of Italian food products protected against imitation by European Union quality seals. The mouth-watering lamb dish believed to date back to the Ancient Romans, an Easter favorite in Rome and around Lazio, has earned a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) label.
The Roman lamb to cook 'abbacchio romano' comes from a sheep breed beleived to originally came from Sardinia. The Roman lamb has ''an age-old association with Rome's rural roots'' and only lambs from approved farms can be used in the dish. The word abbacchio, believed to come from the dialect term 'bacchio' for the stick once used to stun animals before the slaughter, is only used in Rome and the Lazio region.
Alberto Ciarla, a wizard of traditional Roman cooking whose Trastevere restaurant is a must for visiting gourmands, was delighted at the news. ''At last we have recognition for this monument to Roman cooking,'' he said, adding that only the abbacchio-type lamb ''has such delicious meat that you can use it in all kinds of dishes''. The classic Easter serving of abbacchio is roasted with rosemary and other herbs and accompanied by potatoes.
The abbacchio's achievement came less than a week after news that balsamic vinegar from Modena is set to win a PGI label. Italy now have 179 products which boast one of the European Union's three top food laurels: a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) seal, a PGI label or a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) certificate.
Italian culinary glories like Parmigiano, buffalo mozzarella, mortadella, lardo di Colonnata, Ascoli olives, pesto sauce and Pachino plum tomatos have been protected for some time but lesser-known munchies like Mt Etna prickly pears and Paestum artichokes have also swelled the ranks along with saffron from San Gimignano and L'Aquila. A range of salamis, rices, honeys and nuts are also on the protected list. Some notable recent Italian entries have been: a golden tench from Piedmont, the Tinca Gobba Dorata, which got a PDO; salty anchovies from the Ligurian Sea which got a PGI; the Casatella cheese from Treviso which got a PDO; a spring onion from Nocera Inferiore which got a PDO; a chestnut from Roccadaspide, also in Campania, which got a PGI; bread from Matera in Basilicata which got a PGI; an onion from Tropea in Calabria which got a PGI; and a salame from Sant'Angelo in Sicily which also got a PGI.
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