New season or older? Herdwick or Cotswold? Choose the lamb that suits your taste this Easter, says NSA

30th March 2021

As the Easter break approaches this weekend, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is encouraging shoppers to choose delicious British lamb for their Easter Sunday celebrations.
As the much enjoyed, traditional choice of many families across the UK, a roast leg of lamb is the perfect meal to enjoy at this time of year as new season lamb is starting to become available on butchers’ counters and supermarket shelves. But NSA is encouraging shoppers to do their research ahead of the Easter shopping trip to ensure they purchase the meat most suited to their tastes.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker explains: “It is often assumed all lamb 
available in shops at this time of the year is new season – i.e. ‘Spring’ lamb - but that is not the case. However, this should present no issue. Old season lamb, also known as ‘hogget’, is meat from sheep at approximately one year old and is often richer in flavour and equally as delicious. In fact, many may find they prefer the fullness of flavour it can deliver.”
In addition to the age of sheep having an effect on its taste and texture, the many different breeds found in the UK and the environments they are reared in can contribute to a variety in flavour of the meat. This has recently been highlighted for traditional native breeds of sheep in the UK by the creation of the British Heritage Sheep scheme.
British Heritage Sheep Ltd Director Bob Kennard comments: “With the largest number of native sheep breeds in the world, the UK has great diversity in flavours of sheep meat. The British Heritage Sheep scheme will soon be launched to promote this great diversity of flavours. Ask your butcher or farm shop about the breed of sheep, whether it’s lamb, hogget or mutton, and where it was reared. There’s a world of new tastes from old traditions to enjoy this Easter.”
Although big Easter gatherings are still not allowed due to Covid-19 restrictions, the recent easement to allow an outside social gathering of six people means there is plenty to celebrate - and NSA believes there is no better meal to do that than roast lamb.
NSA’s Mr Stocker continues: “A roast leg or shoulder of lamb, hogget or mutton is a perfect celebratory meal. All at NSA wish everyone a very Happy Easter and look forward optimistically to enjoying many future celebrations this year with delicious British lamb as the centrepiece of the festivities.”