Sustainable Foods | Ræst (fermentation) FAROE ISLANDS

Racks of Fermented Lamb

The Story of Ræst

Ræst lamb fermented lamb

One of the most sublime dishes of the world is found in the Faroe Islands, the Atlantic archipelago centered between Iceland, Norway and Scotland, a seemingly simple preparation of lamb with potatoes and root vegetables. All it is not what it seems. Faroese lamb has a special quality that is enhanced by a process that produces a fifth element, the umami flavour that comes after bitter, salty, sour and sweet. Bent Christensen, Jonhard Mikkelsen, Poul F. Guttesen, Maria Canabal and Borghild Sjúrðaberg, who wrote the text for the book produced by KOKS restaurant in 2016, describe the process known as ræst.

‘Used on fish and meat, ræst achieves its glory with lamb. The wind, heat, altitude, cold, level of humidity and salinity as well as the microorganisms that are endemic to the island, make ræst taste unique. The meat can be milder or stronger, more or less acidic, redder, streakier, firmer or softer but it will above all, have a flavour that cannot be found in any other part of the world. It is the mark of the local cuisine.’

Traditionally ræst lamb is served with potatoes and root vegetables, because the meat only needs an accompaniment. Anyone who has tasted dry-aged pork will tell you there is no better flavour to be found. This is one of the many reasons why the old sustainable processes are finding favour with chefs who understand that slow is usually always better than fast!

Ræst Lamb © iNOVA