Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mangalica Festival!

Oh, where to begin? How about the samples? Hmm, lets start with the pig.

This fellow is a Red Mangalica. Notice that I'm using the Hungarian spelling which is pronounced Mangalitza, which is a common Austrian spelling. These two countries have been a safe haven for the breed as they are popular and have thrived for nearly a century and a half whilst this wonderful pig fell out of favor and became extinct in other countries. This is a huge bonus to both Hungary and Austria right now as farmers who are eager to jump on the porcine train of popular pork want to begin raising them. So naturally they have to go to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire to pick out their breeding stock.

Speaking of stock here are all three varieties of the Mangalica: Blond, Red, and Swallow Bellied. Notice that these happy pigs all have their tails intact. There are many reasons why industrial farmers remove the pig's tails. All of these reasons begin with farming and social conditions that the pigs live in that result in tail biting. But if the pigs are happy, interested, and allowed to spend their curiosity on exploration, and they are mixed well this is not a problem that necessitates the docking of their tails.

Please check out the following blog: Wooly Pigs. I've been following him for a while, but had forgotten about his farm after his pack was doing well. Heath Putnam imported his own pack of Mangalica's to Washington from Austria (I believe) and began selling meat to The French Laundry, among other venues, and has now expanded his sales to retail available in farmer's markets and cities like Seattle and New York. If you are close to these sources, please, check it out.

This is some of the Mangalica kolbász I bought. Notice the dark colors and fat. Mangalica are known for their delicious fat and juicy meat. This kolbász was smoked and has paprika in it. Smoke and paprika just go together so well! The overall flavor is sweet and smoky and the texture is really soft.

Various cuts of Mangalica including prosciutto.

The szalonna, bacon (raw in this case), I tried melted in my mouth like a good chocolate does. I also tried other types of kolbász, but it wasn't the only food I ate...

This is a pan of stuffed cabbage, Mangalica stuffed cabbage to be exact. These pans are similar to giant paella pans and hold a lot of food.

Here's a close up...

These are a few of the friendly Hungarians who produce some of the best porcine products in the world.

I'd like to leave you with an image of the animal that makes all of this possible...

Posted by Picasa


Sean said...

What are the prices for Mangalica products in Hungary? Is it a common breed for every-day meals, or is Mangalica a special treat?

Sean Kelly
Seattle WA

JonClark said...

Notice in one of the pictures of the Mangalica stand there is a chalkboard with prices. The brace of kolbasz was purchased for 1200 HUF, that's about $5 (!), and the szalonna (bacon) that melted in my mouth was priced at 1600 HUF/kg which is about $3.45/lb.

Mangalica is not an everyday meal per se, but it is much cheaper and mainstream than in other countries. It has an appeal because it's good, not because it's a rare food find. And even though Managlica is a lot cheaper here everyday people are struggling to stay afloat, so the regular pork, which is much better than in other countries, is fine enough. Though one of the biggest Hungarian producers of porcine products, Pick, has a line of Mangalica products as well.