Sheep and goats

Mutton and lamb have been consumed since times of old in Setomaa. Sheep were always in good supply, while pork was a festive dish. The greatest amount of meat was eaten in the autumn after Michaelmas, and in winter, during a longer interval with no fasting.

If necessary, a lamb could be slaughtered in summertime, if, say, a meat dish had to be prepared for a funeral. Sheep were the right size. Mutton was roasted or used in cabbage soup. The head and sheep’s trotters were turned into jellied meat, often half and half with pork and pork trotters.

Goats are a fairly new phenomenon in Setomaa. Goats were considered a sign of poverty, squalor and laziness – a “Russians’ animal”. Today, with people more mobile and Setomaa increasingly open to outsiders, goat farming has become popular.

A contributing factor is the media buzz around the healthful qualities of goat milk. Local goat farmers have been good at coming up with new and appealing products made from goat’s milk.