In his travelogue, Down Under, author Bill Bryson observed among the Aussies a hidden mirth, as though they had put one over on the British by virtue of having been exiled to such a superior island. One might discern the same secret joy within the Australian Alpaca industry, which is slowly transforming into the Australian alpaca meat industry.
Having perhaps struck out in the fleece side of the business, Australian alpaca farmers are pushing a public relations campaign to educate their countrymen about another purpose for the stately creatures.
A group of Western Australian growers is putting alpaca meat on dinner plates, promoting its buttery texture and comparing the flavour to milk fed veal.
In the barely three decades since their introduction to Australia, alpacas have been traditionally marketed as cute creatures that grow luxurious fibre for clothing.
But alpaca farmers like Mahlon Hotker from Albany on the state’s south coast is keen to expand into the protein game and is starting to trickle alpaca meat cuts into butchers and high end restaurants.
By sheer coincidence, the world’s only alpaca-focused ground meat cookbook is also available in Australia.