Monday February 15 is National Lamb Day – a day to celebrate a turning point in New Zealand’s history which kick-started the country’s red meat industry and today contributes $8.5 billion to the economy annually.
On this day in 1882, William Davidson and Thomas Brydone achieved the remarkable, by launching the first shipment of frozen sheep meat from Port Chalmers in Otago on the Dunedin, bound for London.
The 5,000 sheep carcases arrived in London 98 days later in excellent condition, highlighting the size of the accomplishment. Prior to this, New Zealand mainly sold wool overseas as no one believed it possible to have a thriving meat export business.
The New Zealand meat industry encourages Kiwis here and around the world to recognise this feat and celebrate it by enjoying lamb for lunch or dinner on February 15.
Chief executive of the country’s domestic promotion agency, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc (B+LNZ), Rod Slater says as a nation New Zealand should be proud those around the world recognise New Zealand for its world-class lamb.
“Not many people realise this but 95 percent of our lamb is exported – the demand for our product is huge.
“We’re lucky enough to have the best in the world on our own doorsteps so why not have a day to come together and celebrate it,” says Slater.
New Zealand’s finest food writers and B+LNZ’s ambassadors, including Iron Maidens Sarah Walker and Lisa Carrington, are coming together to celebrate National Lamb Day at the organisation’s first ever pop-up restaurant on Monday evening in Auckland.
Six of the country’s top chefs, also known as B+LNZ’s Platinum Ambassadors have created a six-course lamb degustation menu to mark the occasion.
“This dinner will truly be a once in a lifetime experience. It’s not everyday you see six of New Zealand’s top chefs working together in the same kitchen – It will be extremely special,” says Slater.
The restaurant also opens its doors to the public on Tuesday night with the event already sold out.