The Sambucana sheep breed has been farmed in the Stura Valley mountains since the 18th century. Suited to high-altitude pastures, it is medium-large in size and its limbs are thin, strong and not very long. It has no horns and the head has no wool. The breed is particularly prized for its meat, which is firm, flavorful, lean and rich in protein. The lambs are generally slaughtered when they reach 18 to 25 kilos. Though the period of highest demand is around Christmas, according to valley tradition the lamb is eaten from the end of October, when the Saints’ Fair is held in Vinadio. The lambs slaughtered during this period are called “tardun” and weigh around 35 kilos; born at the end of the spring, they have been fed on mother’s milk and Alpine grasses and herbs. Their meat is firm, flavorful and lean.
The production of “Christmas” lambs is from October to December, and from February to April for Easter lambs.