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Sweetbread is a culinary name for the thymus (also called throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) or pancreas (also called stomach, belly or gut sweetbread), typically from calf (French: ris de veau, Spanish: hígado) or lamb (ris d'agneau). Sweetbreads have a rich, slightly gamey flavor and a tender, succulent texture. They are often served as an appetizer or a main course and can be accompanied by a variety of sauces and side dishes.
The "heart" sweetbreads are more spherical, while the "throat" sweetbreads are more cylindrical. As the thymus is replaced by fibrous tissue in older animals, only pancreatic sweetbreads come from beef and pork. Like other edible non-muscle from animal carcasses, sweetbreads may be categorized as offal, "fancy meat", or "variety meat".: 4,23 Various other glands used as food may also sometimes be called "sweetbreads", including the parotid gland ("cheek" or "ear" sweetbread), the sublingual glands ("tongue" sweetbreads or "throat bread") as well as ovary and testicles.