The Origin of PGI Galician Beef
If we really wanted a date for the arrival of beef cows in these northern lands, we might just have to go all the way back 3,700 years: many archeological findings prove their presence at the time. In fact, cows and all the work revolving around them were the main driving force behind Galicia’s rural economy for hundreds of years. The meat as well as the milk were the primary sources of income for local families and these animals were used as tools to work the land and haul goods.
Of course as time went by, people began trading their products. Galicia was even exporting its valuable meat to other European countries including England by the 19th century.
Well-aware of the great treasures being raised on their lands, Galicians eventually began fighting for the recognition their native cows deserved. And achieve such recognition they did. In 1996, the European Union finally approved protected geographical indication (PGI) status for Galician Beef which made it one of the first cow meats on the entire continent to be subject to comprehensive controls and be sold with a certificate of guarantee. Could there have been a better achievement than this?
Wait a minute. Let’s go back a bit: what exactly is Galician Beef?
It turns out this name covers all beef cows that are exclusively born, raised and sacrificed in Galicia whenever, of course, they come from one of the breeds which are native to this region. The most well-known are Rubia Gallega and Morena Gallega although different cross-breeds of these as well as other native breeds are also included under this description.
These cows are raised on small family farms which stand out both because of their size and production customs. The best thing about them is that they are committed to preserving and conserving the ecosystem and, of course, maintaining the biodiversity and rural environment by preventing any population exodus. This attempt to keep Galician roots very much present in modern society has meant rural areas are more alive than ever.
Some of the most outstanding production customs include outdoor raising in fields that are always green and continuing to feed calves as they age the natural resources inherent to each farm after weaning. This includes plant-based fodder prepared just for them. In all reality, the idea behind it all is organic livestock farming that helps produce a natural food free of chemical substances which is essentially much more sustainable.
Yet one of the key details that turns PGI Galician Beef into such an exquisite product is that 99% of all these beef cows are sacrificed at just 10 months old. So, what does this really mean? Many things of course, but, above all, spectacular meat with the perfect balance between fat and muscle content.
That’s why when you finally get the chance to taste any PGI Galician Beef, you notice an intense flavor, a soft texture and wonderful tenderness and juiciness: what a unique moment! And when you put all those sensations together and mix them all up, you’ll have a huge smile on your face which, as we said, will last a long, long time.