Monday, April 7, 2008

Mangalitsa Conversion Experience

Here's a customer describing how eating Mangalitsa has changed his outlook on pork:

Heath is a really nice bloke to chat to. I asked him “so what made you switch from software engineering to raising pigs?” He handed me the short rib and belly, and said - “you will see”.

He was right. I have the biggest bloody problem on my hands now. Heath’s stash is expensive. And rightly so. His care for his animals is amazing, and his attention to detail is, well, software engineerish. He deserves to charge a high price. The problem I have is that I have no idea how I could eat any other pork now. There would be no point. It wouldn’t be as good.

Mangalitsa is, of course, very special. We expect that as more people get to eat Mangalitsa (either by buying from us at the U-District or West Seattle Farmers Market, Monsoon or Le Gourmand), they'll agree.

Matt Wright's experience was like our own. After we ran out of our first Mangalitsa salami, we got frantic. It sunk in that unless we imported the pigs and started raising them, so long as we lived in the USA, we'd never be able to eat pork as good as what we could get in Europe. The fact that we'd gone out of our way to do a side-by-side comparison of Mangalitsa salami with the best American stuff we could get only made us more depressed.[1]

I ate leftovers from the roast this piece came from -- first the meat, then the fat.

When we made our trip to Austria to see the Austrian producers, we ate a lot of Mangalitsa. After the visiting was over and we spent more time in Vienna, we both got depressed at the prospect of not being able to eat Mangalitsa, even in Vienna. We went through a kind of "Mangalitsa withdrawal" syndrome.

I ate some leftover roasted Mangalitsa meat (from the roast pictured above), and then I ate all the fat (on bread). When it was all gone and it really hit me that I would not get to eat the stuff for a long time.

The fact that we were having such intense feelings (possessive, greedy and downright piggy) about Mangalitsa made us think that importing the Mangalitsa to the Americas was the right thing to do.

1. As we were to later find out, the Pick Mangalica Szalami that so moved us isn't even the best. The big Hungarian producers don't use the best raw material for their cured products, unlike the micro Austrian producers we visited later. The Hungarian firms (like the Spanish) are good at producing a huge amount of affordably-priced Mangalitsa (or Iberico).


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