If your travel guide doesn’t introduce you to the simple delights of Karoo lamb, ask for your money back.  Before the end of a holiday to South Africa you should have at least sampled a delicious Karoo lamb chop (one won’t be enough).

It’s quite literally the best lamb in the world.

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Why does Karoo lamb taste so good?

Well-known South African chef, Justin Bonello, comments in his book Cooked in the Karoo that the secret is in the combination of shrubs that the sheep graze on in the arid Karoo region.  He says that it’s not the shrubs themselves that are so special but the fact that the Karoo is the only place on the planet where all six shrubs grow in one region.

Combined, these six shrubs pack a powerful taste punch.  Affectionately known as Karoobossies, the grouping includes; Rivierganna, Ankerkaroo, Boegoekaroo, Kapokbos, Skaapbossie and Silverkaroo.  It’s a mouth-full, we know!

The unique taste of Karoo lamb comes from the delicious herby flavour of Karoobossie.

Karoo farmer’s wives shake their heads in horror when they see Karoo lamb cooked with lashings of marinade.  The secret to a good Karoo lamb dish is to let the taste of the delicious meat shine through; a drizzle of olive oil and a delicate mix of salt and black pepper, garlic cloves and fresh rosemary is all that is needed.

There will always be a handful of dodgy businessman riding on the coattails of the good guys.   These farmers graze their sheep on ordinary veld grass in areas nowhere near the Karoo region and then market their meat as the real Karoo deal.

It’s important to only buy or eat Karoo lamb that comes with the Karoo Meat of Origin logo.  It’s a certification process that ensures that the lamb is from a genuine Karoo farm. That covered, you’re in for a taste sensation.

Information sources from Cooked in the Karoo by Justin Bonello

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