The lambs of course don’t look any different, but many swear they will know by the taste if they have been fed real Salt Marsh Lamb or not. The flavour isn’t actually salty, just richer flavoured. The theory is that the sodium and iodine render the cell tissues in the meat more tender and juicier.
Salt Marsh Lamb are raised in many places. In France, they are raised particularly on the Atlantic coasts (which is to say, the English Channel areas) of Normandy and Brittany, and in Brittany especially in the region of Mont-St-Michel. Much of the production is actually consumed in these areas, so it’s expensive even in Paris. In France, it has to be aged at least 3 days after slaughter before being sold on to butchers. Fans say it’s best aged around two weeks. In France, the lambs are slaughtered generally between 120-200 days old.
Salt Marsh Lamb is also raised in Ireland, particularly County Wicklow, and in Wales, where it’s called Salt Meadow Lamb. Ireland and Wales are now realizing that instead of just marketing lamb raised in salt meadows as regular lamb, that they can single it out for special market attention, particularly for export to France.
As of 2001, some British lamb producers have started to single out their Salt Marsh Lamb as a special product.
Though rarely sold in North America, Salt Marsh Lamb is now starting to be marketed in parts of North America such as British Columbia in Canada, and in Quebec (particularly Ile Verte.)
The French term “pré-salé” is often misinterpreted. Those with a smattering of French, knowing that “salé” means “salted”, are tricked into thinking this means “pre-salted” (as in, salted in advance). Instead, the word “pré” with an accent means “meadow”, thus rendering the phrase “salt meadow”.
Also termed slightly different as “agneau de pré-salé” and “agneau de prés-salés.”
Prince, Rose. Tried and tested: salt marsh lamb. London: Daily Telegraph. 16 June 2011.