There's meat and then there's meat, and Coastal Spring Lamb may just be one of the best examples of this food group you will find. Farmed on the west coast of the lower North Island, this lamb is something for all carnivores to get excited about.
And it's a limited edition delicacy too, which makes it even more special. Just like the anticipation that accompanies the first bluff oysters, the start of whitebait season or the first asparagus or strawberries of summer, we now have an all-too-short three months in which to look forward to Coastal Spring Lamb.
The lamb is farmed by four families - the Redmaynes, the O'Neills, the Mackelvies and the Brewers. Three years ago the four sets of farmers decided it didn't feel right to be exporting all their premium product for overseas customers to enjoy. They decided, for once, to keep the best for the local market.
I'm pretty sure it's the most tender lamb I've ever tasted. I know the phrase "melt-in-your-mouth" is overused, there's no other words for it.
I guess it's due to the fact that these little lamb darlings get to see only four months on this earth. Killing them off at this age produces young, fresh and incredible-tasting meat (I am hoping most vegetarians have stopped reading by this point).
The effects of the salt air and the herb-filled pastures are very evident in the taste of the meat.
Each lamb is hand-selected and free of any "tampering". This is just meat in its simplest form, free of antibiotics, growth hormones or any other nasties.
I tried the lamb rack seared in a hot fry pan and then roasted at 200C for 12 minutes and it exceeded all my expectations. This is how meat should taste. It makes you cringe a little at all the tough old chops you've eaten at barbecues over the years.
And I'm clearly not the only one who is raving about this seasonal delight. Coastal Spring Lamb is being served up at dine by Peter Gordon, The Commons, Euro, Sidart, Bowmans and Bracu in Auckland, as well as Black Barn in Hawke's Bay, Logan Brown in Wellington and many more restaurants.
Make sure you get hold of some of this before the end of the season in January. I would highly recommend cooking it the way I did (under instruction from one of the farmer's wives). It would make a delightful Christmas meal or festive entertaining dish.
Where to buy
Available online at coastalspringlamb.co.nz
Victoria Park New World, Eastridge New World, Stonefields New World, Westmere Butchery, Neat Meat (Parnell/Ponsonby), Victoria Avenue Butchery Remuera.