Description: The Borrego de Montemor-o-Novo PGI is lamb produced from the White Merino breed of sheep found in the Alentejo area.
Production method: Borrego de Montemor-o-Novo PGI is produced in the Alentejo area, a region which has a Mediterranean climate with very hot, dry summers. The sheep mostly graze on the grass in the fields, supplemented with hay during the winter and they are also fed with the remains left over after the cereal harvest. The lambs are reared on mothers' milk only for the first 6o days of life and are slaughtered at between 90 and 120 days old. The weight of the carcasses are usually between 9 kg and 12 kg, which is not usual in Portugal, where the most common lamb eaten weighs between 5 kg and 8 kg. After slaughter the carcasses are hung for 24 hours in a temperature of about 7 °C, after which the temperature is lowered to 2 °C. The meat can only be eaten at least 72 hours after slaughter.
Distinctive features: The particular flavour of Borrego de Montemor¬0-Novo PGI, especially its mild flavour, can be enjoyed best by not using an excessive amount of condiments; a little salt and extra virgin olive oil is enough. The animal from which this excellent meat is obtained, the White Merino, has distinguishing morphological characteristics too: it is a medium sized sheep, with a wide, short head and the males have spiral rough textured horns which are triangular in section.
Production area: Borrego de Montemor-o-Novo PGI is produced in the municipal areas of Montemoro-Novo, Évora, Arraiolos and Mora, in the Évora district.
History: The White Merino breed of sheep to which the Borrego de Montemor-o-Novo PGI belongs, shares its origins with the other Merino sheep of the Iberian Peninsula. According to historical documents this variety of sheep is older than the country itself. They were originally kept for their famous, high quality Merino wool and it was only later that they began to be reared for the meat. The production of Borrego lamb has become an important part of the economy in the Alentejo region.
Product specification (pdf)
ACOMOR - Agrupamento de produtores de Montemor-o-Novo
Publication in EU official journal
Regulamento (CE) n.º 1107/96 da Comissão de 12 de junho de 1996