BusinessLifestyle May, 14th 2017 by

May is for goat


May is for goat

AJ Linn

In order to understand the rules that dominate the Gastronomic calendar, we need to understand the breeding cycles of the animals and birds involved. The Glorious Twelfth (of August) may be the best known as the opening of the grouse season, and closer to the Mediterranean we are all aware that sardines are best when there is no letter r in the month, like oysters. But I have still to work out why this is the time of year when chivito (baby goat) is at its best. Cochinillo (suckling pig) is eaten year round, and there is a restaurant in Benahavis that sells almost industrial quantities, but those who appreciate chivito have to be more patient.

Although goat is apparently a great favourite of the West Indian community in Britain, normally stewed and of any age, cabrito is a favourite in Portugal, Italy and Greece, as well as Spain. Understandably there are people who shy away from eating any animal that has been killed a few week after it has been born, but the reality is that male goats do not give milk so are killed anyway, usually at birth, so what is the difference? Male calves that are not selected for veal production are literally shot at birth by the understandably unhappy farmer, and since the business of goat milk, yoghurt, et al has moved into the big time, a male animal only has value is its meat. Odd though that suckling pig is an exception and the animals are bred exclusively for the table.

If queasiness is not a factor (you don’t of course eat any meat, do you?) then sit back and enjoy it. The strangely-named La Sociedad restaurant in Canillas de Aceituno, north of Málaga, is the place to which pilgrimages are made at this time of year, and hundreds of dishes are served every weekend. Nearer home Marbella’s Alameda Restaurant in the San Cristobal Hotel has a ‘Chivito Week’ (V JORNADAS GASTRONOMICAS DEL CHIVO) every year, and although sensationally under-promoted, is often a sell-out for the five days the special menu features every sort of goat-sourced dish. Kidneys, cheese, pate, roast leg, stewed shoulder, chops, indeed most parts of the animal are utilised, and all at a price anyone can afford. Be careful though, as the servings are not small and the house red wine is excellent value. It starts on 16 May and runs through until the 20th.

AJ Linn


AJ Linn

Andrew Linn left England 40 years ago to relocate to Spain, having been involved in businesses such as wine shipping and publishing. He currently writes regularly and professionally on wine, food, flamenco, and the Spanish way of life for various publications, and has a regular column in a Spanish newspaper. Andrew is involved in charity work relating to abandoned and mistreated animals.

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