The Golden Fleece of Hlybokaye, Butter Lamb, a dish included in the list of historical and cultural heritage of Belarus

Customs and traditions, knowledge and skills are all part of intangible cultural heritage which is passed on from generation to generation creating a sense of identity, continuity and belonging to a community. The State Register of Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Belarus includes more than 160 assets of intangible cultural heritage, and 5 of them are also included in the UNESCO list (see our earlier posts about the tradition of tree beekeeping and the rite of the Kalyady Tsars). 

The butter lamb is a traditional dish from the Hlybokaye district, Vitebsk region, which accompanies Easter and other important public holidays. The tradition of cooking a butter lamb is more than 200 years old and it is included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of our country. To make a butter lamb, you will need about 400g of homemade butter whipped in a wooden butter churn. The process begins by using two pieces of butter to make the base for the lamb’s body and head.  Next, the cook makes curls: a piece of butter is squeezed out through several layers of gauze. The resulting "fleece" is removed from the gauze with a knife and attached to the base, starting with the head. Peppercorns are used for the eyes and the horns are traditionally made of wax. 

The butter lamb is usually served together with pancakes and fresh bread. You should start by eating its tail first. Otherwise, how else would one know it was a lamb?

You may learn about this tradition on a guided trip to Matsiukova village, Hlybokaye district, where Maryna Hrol puts her heart and soul into cooking the butter lamb following an age-old recipe. 

The Hlybokaye Butter Lamb is also of great interest to us, patent attorneys, as it could well be registered as a geographical indication of the Republic of Belarus and, apart from being listed as historical and cultural heritage, it could also become an object of intellectual property, as a result!