An interesting taste …
When I saw that San Telmo, a very well renowned South American cuisine restaurant was participating in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival “Winter Roasts” event and that they were serving Alpaca for a few limited Fridays my curiosity was piqued.
So much so that a booking at 5:30pm for dinner on a Friday (the only one left!) didn’t deter me from confirming a reservation.
Now, I’ve copped a fair bit of flack for promoting the fact that I was to try Alpaca. I lost some facebook followers immediately after posting about it, and many have cried out that an Alpaca is “far too cute to eat!.” I do agree, they can be pretty cute critters, and I know some people keep them as pets, but if I were to choose my food on this logic I would never eat lamb, pig and various other meats, so I cannot allow the perceived cuteness of an animal stop me from giving it a go.
After being reassured by the waiter after some discussion on this that the Alpaca was “Definitely is not a cute one,” we continued with our order which consisted of Lamb Rump 200g, Braised (for 4 hours!) Alpaca 450g roast, Burnt carrots with goats curd and Polenta chips… yes… feel free to drool, it was all incredible!
But onto the Alpaca…
It’s a taste I can’t quite explain, which certainly isn’t helping me when I’m meant to be explaining it in writing! It’s kind of like really light lamb, not at all like goat or venison. It is not a strong taste at all and after being braised for four hours in the San Telmo oven it literally fell apart and off the bone when it was touched.
It’s a slightly fatty meat, though that could have been the cut as it was close to the rib. I did inquire how old the Alpaca was, curious to know wether or not if it’s at all like lamb or mutton, varying with age. They unfortunately couldn’t tell me so I would be interested to know.
I assumed that it is quite a popular dish in Argentina, however our Argentinian waitress proclaimed that she had never tried it and found it also to be a weird dish, so my visions of vast farms of Alpacas for meat were destroyed.
Perhaps they think that they are too cute to eat regularly also?