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What is Veal? A Guide to Understanding the Meat

If you’re a meat lover, you’ve probably heard of veal before. But what exactly is it, and where does it come from? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at veal and explore its history, production, and taste.

What is Veal

Veal is a type of meat that comes from young, milk-fed cows. It is typically lighter in color than beef and has a delicate, mild flavor. Veal is considered a premium meat, and it is often used in fine dining and high-end restaurants.

Veal can be found in a variety of cuts, including:

  • Veal chops: These are cuts of veal that come from the rib or loin of the animal. Veal chops are often grilled or pan-seared, and they are known for their tenderness and mild flavor.
  • Veal scallopini: This is a thin cut of veal that is pounded flat and usually served with a sauce. It is often used in Italian dishes such as veal Marsala or veal parmesan.
  • Veal cutlets: These are thin slices of veal that are usually breaded and fried. They are often served with a sauce or gravy and are a popular choice for dishes such as veal Milanese or veal Parmesan.
  • Veal shanks: These are cuts of veal that come from the lower leg of the animal. They are typically slow-cooked in dishes such as veal osso buco or veal shanks with red wine and rosemary.

The History of Veal

Veal has a long history dating back to ancient Rome, where it was considered a delicacy. In medieval Europe, veal was a popular choice for nobles and the wealthy, as it was considered a sign of prosperity to be able to afford such a luxurious meat.

In the 16th century, veal became more widely available to the general public, and it became a staple in many European countries. In the United States, veal gained popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it is now widely available in supermarkets and restaurants.

Veal Production

Veal production has been a controversial topic in recent years, with animal rights activists claiming that the conditions in which veal calves are raised can be inhumane.

Veal calves are typically raised in small, confined spaces known as crates or stalls, which can be as small as 2 feet by 7 feet. These cramped quarters prevent the calves from moving around or engaging in natural behaviors such as grazing or socializing.

Critics argue that these conditions are cruel and inhumane, and they have called for the ban of veal crates. In response, some veal producers have moved to more humane methods of production, such as group housing or free-range systems.

Despite these efforts, veal remains a controversial food, and many consumers choose to avoid it due to concerns about animal welfare.

The Taste of Veal

Veal is known for its delicate, mild flavor, which makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a lighter taste. It is also a very tender meat, which makes it easy to chew and digest.

Veal pairs well with a variety of flavors and can be used in a variety of dishes. It is often served with sauces or gravy to add flavor, and it is often paired with herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, and garlic.

Veal can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, pan-searing, sautéing, and braising. It is also a popular choice for dishes such as veal marsala, veal parmesan, and veal osso buco.


Veal is a premium meat that comes from young, milk-fed cows. It has a delicate, mild flavor and is considered a delicacy in many countries. While veal production has been controversial due to concerns about animal welfare, some producers have moved towards more humane methods of production. Veal can be found in a variety of cuts and can be cooked in a variety of ways, making it a versatile choice for those who enjoy its taste. Whether you’re a fan of veal or choose to avoid it, it’s important to be informed about where your food comes from and how it is produced.

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