Adamello Blonde Goat

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The Adamello blonde goat is widespread along the Adamello massif, in particular in Val Saviore and Val Camonica, in the province of Brescia. Its name refers to the light shade of its coat. It is believed that the origin of the breed belongs to the strain that is widespread in the Alps, it was then selected and isolated from the mountain ranges that represented a natural barrier. The blonde goat breed reached uniformity and consistency around the beginning of the 1900s.

The Adamello blonde goat is of medium-large size, it is a hardy breed with a robust, agile and quick body. Its coat varies in colour, from light brown to blonde, which becomes white from the knee to the hoofs, up to the abdominal area. There are two white streaks on its head, which extend from the base of the ears to the mouth. The neck is elongated and thin, the chest and abdomen are well developed; the limbs are strong and solid. It always has a beard, a wattle, upright ears and horns.

They are bred semi-wild which ensures that they are able to graze throughout the vegetation season. In the coldest months (December-February) they are often kept in a stable. Grazing is the main source of nutrition for these animals.

The Adamello blonde goat is suitable for the production of meat, in particular for the baby goats and for the dried, salted and flavoured meat called Berna. Berna was consumed by local shepherds during transhumance. The main use of the blonde goat is actually the production of milk. The milk is used to make ricotta cheese and fatulì cheese. Fatulì is a goat cheese made with rennet coagulation, it is hard and semi-cooked, with a short aging time. The rind is hard and smoked, the shape is cylindrical and flat. In the original version, it is smoked with dwarf juniper branches that grow abundantly in the Saviore Valley. Fatulì became a Slow Food Presidium in 2005.

The population of the Adamello blonde goat has undergone a demographic decline until it reached 100 heads in 1995. Moreover, a genetic crossover – in particular with the more productive Toggenburg breed – has characterised the loss of most of its peculiarities. Today, the breed has been recovered thanks to the commitment of the breeders: in fact, there are 4500 goats in Val Saviore and Val Camonica which are able to guarantee a discreet – but still reduced – genetic variability.

With the recognition of the risk of extinction, various projects to recover and safeguard this breed have been started, which have created a significant inversion of the trend. The Adamello blonde goat is now registered in the “Registro Anagrafico Nazionale”; the Lombardy region and the province of Trento allocate subsidies to breeders so that they can continue to safeguard this breed.

Since 2018, Val Camonica has been recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The reserve includes 40 municipalities of the Mountain Community of Valle Camonica, where most of the breeders of the blonde goat are located. Val Camonica is a territory that is rich in biodiversity and represents an alpine corridor. The variety of microclimates and the contribution of grazing has generated a botanical heritage of the highest value and recognition, which represents about 25% of all Italian plant biodiversity, including many endemic species.

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