Saturday, February 9, 2008

Heirloom Pigs

I had intended to write about something else, but was immediately distracted by a link called Wooly Pigs on Blogger's login page.

Wooly Pigs are a breed called Mangalitsa from the Austria-Hungary, and aside from being furry, like the ancient undomesticated pigs of yore, they have made a splash among foodies for being the Kobe Beef of pork. Here's a video:

There are already "heritage" pigs, like the Berkshire (which I had never heard of before till I started reading about this just now), but the owners of Wooly Pigs are promoting their pigs as being truly different--check out these photos of pre-WWII pigs (scroll down on this page) versus the heritage pigs of today versus the Mangalitsa.

The pork from this breed is more marbled because it was bred for bacon and lard; modern breeding has produced a dry"other white meat." But Mangalitsa fat, according to the site, is also less saturated. This is demonstrated by the lower melting point of Mangalitsa lardo--no less calorie-laden but at least less likely to clog your arteries.

The Mangalitsa is being featured on menus of restaurants in America for the first time this year, the most notable being the French Laundry, according to this post at ChowHound. However, if you are fortunate enough to live in Washington state (the farm is based in Spokane), you won't have to visit the pricey Yountville food mecca for a taste--here's a post from the Seattlest listing restaurants serving Mangalitsa.

Most days I will eat Idaho potatoes, Roma tomatoes, and Fuji apples because it is cheaper. But when I tasted my first heirloom tomato years ago, I realized just how much taste had been bred out of our crops for the sake of uniformity and disease hardiness, so every so often, I must splurge. They look warped and mutated but there is nothing like the taste of an heirloom tomato on a warm summer day dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, fresh cracked pepper, and maybe some goat cheese.

Here's a photo that makes me want to fly to Seattle right now and make a reservation, followed by a video that will make you want to spare their lives--they are cute and frisky!

Update: I'm ahead of the NYTimes by a year!

1 comment:

alderyarrow said...

Totally makes me hungry!

Copyright 2008