Native to the Cuneo valleys, until a few decades ago the Frabosana Roaschina was the most common dairy sheep breed in Piedmont, reared in the provinces of Cuneo, Turin and Alessandria. Thanks to its hardiness, it could graze in even the stoniest pastures and was well suited to marginal, inaccessible mountain areas, where a few pure-bred flocks have survived to the present day.
Similar in appearance to the Brigasca sheep, the Frabosana Roaschina is distinguished by a marked convex profile and flattened horns, spiraling in the rams and pointing backwards in the ewes. The sheep is medium in size, with straw-white or very pale brown wool and long, thin limbs.
The Frabosana Roaschina is mostly raised for its milk, which some producers turn into cheese, both in the winter and during the summer pasturing period, with the older animals slaughtered at the end of their reproductive life and their meat cured. Meat production is focused on the suckling lambs, whose meat lacks the strong flavor that occasionally characterizes lamb and mutton, and is facilitated by the breed’s early reproduction, with the first birth at around 13 months. The wool, sheared in the spring, is long, coarse and suited to the production of mattresses and carpets. The woolly skin of the lambs was once used to make gloves and other leather goods.
The animals graze freely when the weather allows and are taken up to mountain pastures during the summer. In the winter they are kept indoors and mostly fed locally grown hay.
A fair for Frabosana Roaschina sheep is held in the municipality of Roaschia in early May, with an exhibition of the best specimens of the breed and tastings of various products.
Births are concentrated in the autumn, so the lamb meat is available particularly between December and April. Cheeses are found from January to October, and cured meats are available all year round.