Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mangalitsa Showdown

Manfred Stockner with his lardo and whipped lard.

I saw online something that someone wrote about what Bill Telepan did with Mangalitsa pork. It looks amazing. It is odd to think that I'm somehow connected with that.

It has me thinking - I would love it if there was a Mangalitsa Showdown - a competition where various Mangalitsa Chefs could prepare multi-course meals from Mangalitsa pigs.

The idea would be to optimize the dining experience. E.g. big fat Mangalitsas would be allowed. Cured products would be allowed. Other competitions, like Cochon 555, have rules that work against excellent cured products and very fat pigs, becuase there are rules like, "prepare everything in less than a 18 months" and "carcasses only so many pounds heavy."

I don't know what the rules should be, except perhaps to limit a chef to a half a pig's worth of pork. You definitely don't want rules that get in the way of the dining experience.

The reason I think we need a Mangalitsa Showdown is that - as it is clear to anyone that loves Mangalitsa pork - it really is a different sort of food. It doesn't work to have Mangalitsa in a competition like Cochon 555- because Mangalitsa the Mangalitsa fans think it is the best, while the philistines think it is too fatty.

If we lived in Europe, we could have a lard-type breed competition. We'd have Mangalitsa, Iberico, Swabian Hall, Porc Noir De Gascon in the competition.

But because we live in the USA, the Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa is the only widely available lard-type breed of pig. We might as well just give every chef some Mangalitsa pork and let him do his thing - hence, Mangalitsa Showdown.

Who'd I want to see compete in the Mangalitsa Showdown? Bryce Lamb (of course), The French Laundry's Devin Knell (first Mangalitsa customer in the USA), Houston's Chris Shepherd or Ryan Pera, Bill Telepan, Manfred Stockner - that's plenty of Mangalitsa Chefs. I'm leaving out Michael Clampffer because I figure he'd like to be a judge.

Guests would get just a nibble of each course, or it'd be too much food.

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