Once upon a time, lamb meat (carne de cabrito, in Portuguese) was a secret ritual to please the gods. Today, it’s used across the country throughout the year and it seems to have lost its solemnity – except in Minho region, of course.
Here the lamb is celebrated, reaching its peak in Easter Sunday lunch.
In a Lent with (or without) fasting, the lamb is the preferred dish of Minho’s families to eat on Easter Sunday.
For some reason, these lambs are carefully chosen when they reach one and half month old and the weight of 3 or 5 kilos – when the meat is more pink and tender.
According to region, the lamb is roasted in different ways – in Coimbra, for example, it is cooked like piglet. However, in Minho region, as tradition dictates, the lamb is roasted in the oven accompanied by roasted potatoes and rice.
Although many people know it, it’s true that still today there is some confusion when it’s time to distinguish lamb meat – in Portuguese, we have three words regarding lamb meat and each one corresponds to a different type of meat: ‘cabrito’, ‘borrego’ and ‘anho’. When we mention ‘cabrito’, we mean the animal from the goat breed that comes precisely from goats. On the other hand, ‘borrego’ is a lamb from the sheep breed and its meat is softer and has a lighter color. Finally, ‘anho’ is just a grown lamb.
If you chose to come to Minho for its tradition, welcome! Braga has the best festivities that Portugal has to offer in Easter time. Get involved by the ‘folar’, the lamb and, of course, don’t forget the Easter egg for your godson or goddaughter.