Bœuf du Maine (Maine beef)
The herds are kept in free pastures for at least seven months a year. In this way, they are nurtured with the grass from the large and shaded meadows. During winter, the animals leave from pastures and are sheltered in stalls for maximum five months. The pasture grass-based fodder can be integrated with forages and linseeds. The growth of these animals is very slow and regular and takes place in the same herd from weaning to slaughtering. The IGP Bœuf du Maine originates either from cows about 10 years old which calved at least once, with a weight over 380 kg or from oxen aged of more than 30 months with a weight around 400 kg. Between slaughtering and sale, the animals undergo a period of maturation, whose length depends on cuts: from 10 days for pieces to roast or grill to four days for pieces to boil or braise.
Appearance and Flavour
IGP Bœuf du Maine is very tender and flavourful; it can be conserved for a long time and is perfect to be cooked. From a diet point of view, it contains a few fats in total. Moreover, these contain some unsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3).
The production area of IGP Bœuf du Maine covers the departments of Sarthe, Mayenne, Maine-et-Loire and some neighbouring municipal areas, in the region Pays-de-la-Loire; the areas of Mortagne and Alençon in the department of Orne, in the region Lower-Normandy, and several areas of the neighbouring regions of Brittany, Poitou-Charentes and Centre.
The fame of IGP Bœuf du Maine goes back to the 18th century. The livestock markets of the region had in the past a reputation which has enabled over the times to make the fame of these beef well known and to appreciate their quality.
The IGP Bœuf du Maine is conserved for a few days in the refrigerator, wrapped into paper food and stored in the coldest compartment. This meat is ideal for a lot of alternative recipes which vary depending on the cut chosen. The cooking methods to enhance the beef flavour go from the traditional grilled beef to the tasty roast, as well as boiled beef, braised, stew and, finally, fricassee. The most suitable herbs to spice and season these dishes are rosemary, mint and wild fennel. In addition, the combination with every type of vegetable is versatile, as explained in numerous recipes where beef is the protagonist. Ideal with a good red wine.
The product is sold as IGP Bœuf du Maine. It is marketed fresh, whole without head, or in slices packed in trays with protected atmosphere which guarantees a longer conservation and keep unaltered its organoleptic features and its flavour.
The oceanic, humid and mild climate of the Pays-de-la-Loire region enables the existence of a rich pasture area which favours nutrition, therefore the raising of animals, from which comes the IGP Bœuf du Maine meat.