I love sweetbreads! Not the kind you eat with your cappuccino in the morning, but the ones you eat as a treat every so often.
I first tried them about ten years ago and have sought them out since. It is not something you would eat every day, but something as a special treat.
Rather than describing sweetbreads in my own words, below is an excerpt from Wikipedia that explains in good detail:
“Sweetbreads are culinary names for the thymus (also called throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) or the pancreas (also called heart, stomach, or belly sweetbread), especially of the calf (ris de veau) and lamb (ris d’agneau) although beef and pork sweetbreads are also eaten. Various other glands used as food may also be called “sweetbreads”, including the parotid gland (“cheek” or “ear” sweetbread), the sublingual glands (“tongue” sweetbreads or “throat bread”), and testicles (cf. Rocky Mountain oyster or lamb fries) The “heart” sweetbreads are more spherical in shape, and surrounded symmetrically by the “throat” sweetbreads, which are more cylindrical in shape.
One common preparation of sweetbreads involves soaking in salt water, then poaching in milk, after which the outer membrane is removed. Once dried and chilled, they are often breaded and fried. They are also used for stuffing or in pâtés. They are grilled in many Latin American cuisines, such as in the Argentine asado, and served in bread in Turkish cuisine.”
The word “sweetbread” is first attested in the 16th century, but the etymology of the name is unclear. “Sweet” is perhaps used since the thymus is sweet and rich-tasting, as opposed to savory-tasting muscle flesh. “Bread” may come from brede, “roasted meat” or from the Old English brǣd (“flesh” or “meat”).”
Wherever you find yourself in the world you will usually find sweetbreads on the menu, In Italy, France, Mexico, Spain – all of the countries that show their culinary expressions.
Ciao for now