Food and beverage stories
A lamb passion
Delicate almond flavour…mmm, freshly baked cakes spring to mind. But that’s not what Matt Lang is describing. In fact, what Matt is passionately talking about and taking to the world may surprise you…
When you listen to Matt describe Tasmanian lamb, it’s like listening to a connoisseur describing fine wine.
He talks about its delicate and unique ‘almondy’ flavour. He tells us the tender meat is “clean, fresh, flavoursome and melts in your mouth”. As for the colour? Well our lamb is a lovely pale red with beautiful marbling.
“It’s the best in the world. Hands down!” he emphatically says. “We are so lucky here in Tasmania.”
Matt is now spreading that message through a new marketing campaign where the finest cuts of meat are proudly branded as Lamb of Tasmania – an initiative of Tasmanian Quality Meats [TQM], set up by his uncle in 1997.
As Matt points out, the world loves Tasmania’s famous whisky, wine and seafood, where quality and provenance are the hallmarks. And, now it’s time for lamb to get on that list.
“The demand for Australian lamb is there, but Tasmania’s beautiful lamb doesn’t have the recognition it deserves just yet,” Matt adds. “And, that’s what we plan to change with our new Lamb of Tasmania branding.”
Meat is literally Matt’s life.
“People have these passions for funny little things, and I have always been a lover of meat,” he enthuses. “I grew up hunting, and I love learning about different ways to process meat and different ways to get the best flavours.”
Not surprisingly, Matt became an apprentice butcher. Then on his 18th birthday his brother-in-law asked him to help out for the day at TQM “which has family members all over the place,” and he never left.
Matt is now TQM’s Domestic Sales Manager and says there is good reason why Tassie lamb is so special: sheep graze on lush green pastures; the environment is clean and GMO-free; and the cooler climate allows lambs to mature slowly resulting in a flavoursome product.
“Our lamb is more than just a piece of meat in a box,” he explains.
“It’s how the finished product gets to where it is. It’s how closely the farmers care for their livestock. It’s the quality of air in Tasmania, it’s the morning dew on the grass, it’s the colder nights. It’s everything that Tasmania has to offer.
“You can taste Tasmania. It’s right there in that meat on your plate.”
TQM sits in the heart of Tasmanian lamb country at Cressy. And it is here, in this tight-knit community, that Matt’s family company provides jobs for 100 people – mostly locals.
The business is now one of Tasmania’s biggest abattoirs with 4,000 sheep passing through its gates each week. Only the best of these, around 1,000, qualify for the prized purple Lamb of Tasmania patch.
And since the branding campaign was launched last month, this premium product has been snapped up by top end butchers and restaurants around the country. Now plans are being rolled out to export Lamb of Tasmania to the key markets of China, Japan, Korea and the USA.
But, will this make a difference?
Absolutely, says Matt. He has no doubt that Tasmanian lamb will soon join the basket of highly sought-after artisan products from this food lover’s paradise.
“We all see the potential of what this can turn into,” Matt predicts confidently.
“Nothing compares with the lamb we have here. And, as soon as we get that message out to as many people as possible, the brand is going to be huge.
“Lamb of Tasmania is never going to be about the biggest quantity, but I can see it being the biggest brand in Australia, and once we showcase it around the world it’s going to be massive.”
Images courtesy of Tasmanian Quality Meats and Martin Turmine
23 June 2019, Edition 206