Now, I’d always been under the impression that you couldn’t eat llama meat in France. I was told that on good authority. But I was doing some research yesterday – not, I hasten to add, because I want to eat either Gabby, Windy, Katrina, Lulin, Vicky, Georgie, Mellie, Ciara, Plunkett, Elrond, Oscar, Denis, Seamus or Brendan. (Everyone knows you can’t eat an animal with a name!) I was checking things out for my famous living in France book. And also because I just wanted to know. Every year, the most popular questions posed by people who come to trek with our llamas are 1) Can you ride a llama? (no) and 2) Can you eat them? I’ve been telling them no, but I thought I should find out for sure.

Here come my nosey girls, alpacas at the forefront

Anyway, I stumbled across a very long document issued by UNECE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, entitled ‘Llama/alpaca meat carcases and cuts’. France is listed as one of the countries whose delegation was involved in drawing it up. This suggests to me that therefore they support the idea of eating llamas. I’ve emailed UNECE to ask but haven’t had a reply yet. They probably think I’m a passing lunatic!

Ciara's ears are down because she's not sure about the camera

Anyway, all meat has a code according to what species it is. Beef is 10, turkey is 71, llama is 60 and alpaca is 61. There are then more codes for what age and sex the animal is, another set according to how it was reared (indoors, outdoors, organic etc), and more pertaining to how it was fed. And one set for fat thickness of the final cuts of meat L In fact, there are 14 different sets of codes, or fields.

There’s a handy multilingual index of products, so I now know that Pecho corto sin tapa is Spanish for brisket point, and that the Russian for cube roll is nine words long. (It wouldn’t paste here – my computer couldn’t cope!) The UNECE report finishes with many pages featuring colour photos of various cuts of llama and handy diagrams showing whereabouts on the body this is found. It’s actually fascinating but I appreciate it may not appeal to persons of a nervous disposition.

I’m not about to start looking up llama recipes, although there are plenty out there on the Internet. Llama meat is very popular in South America. I saw a programme on telly where some travel reporter was spending time in Peru and eating llama and guinea pigs. The former was tasty but tough, he said, and the latter absolutely delicious!

A few nice photos of our littlest alpaca to finish with. Elrond, who is now 7 months old, has now become known as Mutton Chops for obvious reasons. He’s one fluffy paca!

Elrond 'Mutton Chops' and his mum Amélie

Now his ears are down too - he's run out of braveness!

If you want to see how Elrond has changed, look back at his baby photos here.

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