Friday, December 30, 2011

New Mangalitsa Breeder Tyke Antonopolous

Tyke Antonopolous of Missouri (near Springfield) just bought some breeding stock (4 gilts and 3 boars). His phone number is 417-276-3039.

He said his main intention is to sell breeding stock. He said he'll do a little meat, but given that he's isolated, he doesn't expect to sell much to restaurants.

If you've bought breeding stock from Heath Putnam Farms, don't be surprised if he contacts you. He wants to form an association of Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa breeders.

Tyke has been breeding livestock for years. He used to be very active in Boer goats.

It fascinates me to see this happening. Most of the breeding stock customers to date have been operations like Mosefund, Pasture Prime Wagyu or Revival Meats: breed specific meat companies.

Kerns, of International Boar Semen and Ken Kehrli (a Berkshire guy) are some of the established Iowa farmers that are adopting, if only experimentally, Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa pigs. It was a big deal to get them involved.

Tyke has two obvious markets: farms that bought Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics and need fresh blood and farms wanting to acquire Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics for the first time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favorite Bites 2011

EDIT: added a new one from chowfather

A bunch of people have written up "favorite bites of 2011" articles. It is great to see that Mangalitsa made an impact on so many peoples' gustatory lives in 2011. I figure it is just the tip of the iceberg; a few people write such articles. Many more people had the same experience, and perhaps even noticed it, but didn't bother to tell others about the best things they ate in 2011.

Jeff #1's list includes a chop in Houston's Max's Wine Dive. I'm guessing Morgan Weber's Revival Meats sold the loin to them.

Ian Froeb liked one of my pigs, cured and served at Taste, in St. Louis.

Food writer Leslie Kelly liked our winning hog.

Jeff #2's list included our winning hog.

Chowfather - Mangalitsa Belly his dish of the year.
Just due to how long it takes to get a Mangalitsa pig to market and who was breeding them when, I'm fairly sure (but not certain) that at one point, the pigs used to produce the pork belonged to Heath Putnam Farms, and hence, to me.

One thing that's neat about the rapid expansion in Mangalitsa breeders (which is accelerating) is that come 2013 or 2014, most of it will have been produced by someone other than me.

Mangalitsa Hams in the News

There's a nice story here about Johnston County Hams and their Mangalitsa hams.

I'm incredibly grateful that Johnston County Hams chose to produce Mangalitsa hams (and shoulders). Nobody else was willing to sink a fortune into producing a novel ultra-premium luxury food.

The story reminds me a bit of Germain-Robin; they made great brandies, equal to those of Europe. Unfortunately, Americans didn't really want that stuff. Unsurprisingly, I love Germain-Robin. Here's a section from an article about it:

Germain-Robin spends no money on advertising. Unlike Hennessy or Courvoisier, hip-hop artists don't give it "shout outs" in their songs. Moreover, being in Ukiah leaves Germain-Robin far off the trail of Wine Country tasting.

But in the glass, Germain-Robin brandies sing and dance. I tasted a range of the company's products along with some Hennessy XO Cognac, a well-regarded French product that costs $120. (See story page F6). The Hennessy XO smelled simple and uninteresting, and tasted rough and unbalanced in comparison.

It's not surprising that Germain-Robin tastes better than similarly priced French Cognacs when you learn how the two products are made. Both reflect the culture of their homelands.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thanks Herb!

I finished the cured Mangalitsa shoulder that Herb Eckhouse sent me yesterday. There might be a few grams more of cured meat and fat on that thing, but I didn't want to risk cutting myself to get it.

It was delicious. The fat was like lardo. The cured meat was an umami-bomb.

My favorite part of the shoulder was the shank. I used a very sharp knife to remove the meat off the bone near the hoof. After cutting out the sinew I was able to enjoy some very delicate meat. I cut that into paper thin slices and ate it piece by piece. The texture is great - they are stiff and a bit chewy but still yielding.

This stuff isn't for everyone. One acquaintance that I shared a piece with remarked that it tasted plain. Apparently the jerky-like texture fooled her; she was expecting it to taste peppery. She didn't appreciate it at all.

This experience reminded me of the first time I ate cured pork products in Spain, while switching planes. I had never eaten cured pork products that weren't spiced or smoked. At first they tasted odd. The more I ate them, the more I liked them. Later I ate products made with spices and felt they were over-spiced.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ferran Adria and other Molecular Cuisine Experts Eat one of my Pigs

Jason Bond's Mangalitsa fatback.

As described here, Ferran Adria (google him if you don't recognize him) visited the USA. He attended a special event at Harvard, along with Harold McGee and Nathan Myrvold.

At their special dinner, they got to eat some Mangalitsa from a that I sold to Jason Bond. I think you can see the pig (Tan) here.

That's neat. When you sell stuff, you never know what will happen to it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mangalitsa Lardo Fan Takes Second in Tower Race

Kevin Crossman took second in a recent important tower race, despite being injured.

We like to do aerial acrobatics (tricks on rope) at his gym. When I visit, I bring him things like Mangalitsa lardo.

He's living proof that one can eat lots of animal fat and be super healthy.

Culinary Pen's Mangalitsa Tenderloin

Mangalitsa tenderloin. Photo by Culinary Pen.

The blog Culinary Pen has a few Mangalitsa-related posts.

A recent one shows one way to prepare a Mangalitsa tenderloin. I think Mangalitsa tenderloin is a wonderful treat. I rarely eat it.

I sell that cut to chefs like John Cox of Casanova Restaurant or Philip of Nell's in Greenlake. Tenderloin is great cut for them because their guests are a bit conservative.

Mangalitsa Cocktail and Ground Control

I bumped into Matthew Segal (r) twice yesterday - once at Ba Bar (owned by Monsoon's Eric Banh) and later that evening at a Capitol Hill bar.

He is opening Ground Control. It will serve alcoholic drinks and sandwiches. Matthew has worked as a chef. He has a good palate. I bump into him at Monsoon regularly.

Months ago I gave him some Mangalitsa lardo. Last night he proudly showed me his cocktail menu. As the photo below shows, Mangalitsa cocktails are on his menu.

For his opening, I'll be providing some meat. He'll roast it up. He'll special the Mangalitsa cocktail that night. It should be a lot of fun.

He says that Mangalitsa fat dissolves into the drink. It adds flavor and mouthfeel.