Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mangalica vs Mangalitza vs Mangalitsa

Wallowing Mangalitsa

2008 was a huge year for Wooly Pigs. Although the first Mangalitsa pig ever was sold to The French Laundry in 2006, 2008 was the year that Wooly Pigs introduced the Mangalitsa to American consumers. People could, for the first time ever, to go to a farmers market and buy retail amounts of Mangalitsa, some of the best fat (and meat) in the world.

Before introducing Mangalitsa to the American market, I had to make some basic decisions. One was how to spell the breed.

The Mangalitsa breed has a few different spellings. Oklaholma State University's page mentions the following:
Wollschwein (German),
Hungarian Curly Coat,
Porc laineux des Pacages,
As someone who likes Hungarian culture, the most natural would have been to choose the Hungarian spelling, Mangalica. Unlike popular breeds of pigs, it hasn't changed substantially since 1833. The different Mangalitsa breeds only exist because of Hungarian breeders. Why change something that's been the best in its class for 175 years?

Yet choosing Mangalica would have meant hearing Americans mispronounce Mangalitsa indefinitely, so I decided we needed something different.

I tried looking at what other Mangalica importers chose to call their pigs. They'd likewise had to introduce an exotic breed with a foreign name to their home countries.

When Tony York imported the breed to the UK from Austria, he chose to use the German Mangalitza. French importers of the pigs also chose to use Mangalitza, despite them already having Porc laineux. Those terms seem to have "taken"; the British Pig Association uses it, and French breeders discuss their Mangalitza pigs online - despite Mangalitsa appearing in print for decades. Perhaps that's because Mangalitza has appeared in books even longer.

At the time, I chose Mangalitsa, because it is an accepted English term for the breed reasonably close to the Hungarian (although "mongalitsa" would probably lead to Americans saying it like the Hungarian).

Also, was available. If you are going to bring a new food to the Western Hemisphere, all the better if you can register the domain name.

Things should get interesting in 2009, with Monte Nevado exporting Mangalica. Some national food magazines will publish something about the pigs in the next few months. It will be interesting to see what spelling they go with.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mangalitsa in Hungary

Pictured at top, the entree from the 2009 Budapest Opera Ball:
Mangalica Pork baked in Beer, stuffed with Spinach and Pine Nuts with Chestnut-Maple Syrup, Thymed Mushrooms and Zucchini

Filet of Venison with Juniper and Cranberry, in Almond Crust with Red Currant Dressing

Breast of Guinea Fowl filled with Porcini Mushroom, Pear Purée

Sage scented Vegetable Risotto
I believe the two mostly white objects at 12 and 6 o'clock are the Mangalitsa: pieces of stuffed fat. It only works because fat from properly fattened Mangalitsa is so divine.

Then there's what looks to be a festival, "Nemzetközi Gömböc Fesztivál". It looks like they slaughter some pigs. The picture of the fire shows a pig getting de-haired by flame, one way of getting the hairs off. Other ways include skinning the pig, scalding and shaving.

Cute and Fat Mangalitsas

Removing the Hairs
A Tasty Piggy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The fat is part of the experience.

Mangalitsa ham - a lot of fat.

There's an article here about people buying European hams.

Although there are some inaccuracies about what the Iberian pigs eat (the bellota pigs don't just eat acorns their whole lives), there's a nice section at the end:
Those who know dry-cured hams best realize that they derive much of their distinctive flavor and mouth feel from the fat that rims and streaks the meat. Retailers, however, often are asked to remove the fat encircling the leg before slicing. Though Cafasso said he has tried to convince customers otherwise, he accommodates such requests by carefully beveling the layer of fat that edges the portion to be cut. Cesare Casella, dean of Italian studies at the International Culinary Center in New York and co-owner of Salumeria Rosi, a Manhattan store and cafe showcasing Italian cured pork products, is not as cooperative. "I'm sorry; I refuse, because it's not the way to eat prosciutto," he said. "It's a question of education. The quality of the prosciutto depends on the fat. The fat is part of the experience."
Of course, they are talking about meat-type breeds. That's what the Italians raise these days, having switched in the 1960s from hogs like the Iberian Blacks to the much leaner Landraces. One can only imagine how difficult it would be to mass-market hams like that pictured above, from Mangalitsa pigs.

This explains why Mangalitsa is great for sausage or salami (and crossbreeding programs). Those same fat-phobes who trim the fat will eat up the salami and sausage. You just need to hide that fat. Our restaurant customers hid the Mangalitsa fat in sausages, ravioli, etc. People love to eat it; it just has to be in the right form.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Look Inside the Herbfarm

Rebekah Denn, Food Writer for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, did a multi-part piece on The Herbfarm's Keith Luce.

At $159, The Herbfarm is expensive - but as Rebekah writes:
... the restaurant is also sought out by guests like the man who chose The Herbfarm as the place to eat his last meal before surgery stole his sense of taste, or the Iraq veteran who took his wife out to dinner just before shipping out for a second year at war.
The Herbfarm is one of America's Mangalitsa producers. As Rebekah mentions, they are fattening their Mangalitsas in a very particular way to make them taste as good as they can.

We'll be having a class there January 27 & 28 about how to prepare organs, break down hogs and cure them, Austrian-style. Christoph Wiesner, President of the Austrian Mangalitsa Breeders' Association, is coming to show us how it is done.

There will only be 4-5 people at the class. If you are interested in attending, please contact me - there are two spots left.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hungarian Chef on Cooking Mangalitsa Steaks

I found this cooking video showing how to cook Mangalitsa steaks, made by a chef in Budapest.

Any video with the phrase "hot melted mangalica pig fat" is going to be good.

There's other videos too - and they all use Mangalitsa fat for cooking:
Meat Options For Hungarian Recipes

Hungarian Steak Sauce Recipes

Hungarian Potato & Parsley Recipe

Using Lecso Base for Hungarian Goulash Soup

Hungarian Photos of Mangalitsa

Looking on the web, I found this neat page (Hungarian language) with the above photo of a Manglitsa. I hope Vanda or another helpful Magyar will tell us what's going on.

I'm skeptical that the pig was really 300kg (approx. 660 pounds). I really like how its folds of fat have mini folds of fat.

Below is a photo from flickr of someone's Mangalitsa fatback. You can see his other photos here.

Looking at the photos, it all seems a bit odd. If you don't know how good that fat tastes, it just looks gross. If you know how good it tastes, it makes your mouth water.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mangalitsa & Pietrain - Highly Specialized Breeds

Old photo of Mangalitsa pigs - more here

I was reading "Pigs: A Handbook to the Breeds of the World" recently. The author breaks down the world's pig breeds into three groups:
  1. White meat types (Large White, Danish Landrace and derived pigs).
  2. Highly specialized breeds: Pietrain and Mangalitsa.
  3. Local breeds (everything else).
I was surprised that she didn't lump in the Mangalitsa with the "local breeds" (like the iberico). Instead, she took one of Europe's fattest and tastiest breed (Mangalitsa) and put it with the Pietrain (one of the leanest).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mangalitsa Product - Cheese Wrapped in Fatback

Stern magazine has something about a new product based on Mangalitsa: cheese, wrapped in Manglaitsa fat, with herbs. You are supposed to grill it until the cheese and fat melt.

Most of these products sound gross until you eat them and experience how wonderful Mangalitsa fat is. You can only get away with whipped lard and deepfried fatback when the raw material is fantastic.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mangalitsa In New York

Mangalitsa will soon be available in New York.

If you are interested and want to get some of the first batch, please contact me.

The meat is available as primals, not small cuts. If you are a home chef and you want Mangalitsa, that shouldn't put you off.

Texas Tech Pig Info

Feral Swine in Texas

There's some neat info from Texas Tech about Feral swine. They set up cameras to take photos of the (mostly) nocturnal animals, allowing them to see things that we'd otherwise miss. They also trapped a bunch of them. In Germany, the wild boar crisis is worse, because humans are feeding and protecting the swine.

Besides the feral swine, the Texas Tech website has some neat movies (part 1 and part 2) about a state of the art Texas pig farm in 1964. I'm not used to seeing Texans talk about pigs, which made the video a bit funny.

Modern pig technology isn't that different from their stuff in 1964. One obvious different: now they'd use AI. There's a page on current (as of 2002) sow housing written by Dr. McGlone, one of the USA's most respected hog experts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Butchering in Hungary

The butchering season has started again. Reuters has a nice photo (above) from a butchering competition in Kiskunfélegyháza. Their caption is:
Competitors clean a pig during a butchering competition in Kiskunfelegyhaza, 115 km (71.5 miles) south of Budapest, December 13, 2008. Pork features prominently in traditional Hungarian cuisine and the slaughter of pigs is a thriving cottage industry in the countryside during winter.
Here's another photo from the same competition, showing another very fat Mangalitsa:

The hog pictured at the top has a long snout typical of a Mangalitsa.

In general, animals closely related to wild boar have long noses. Long-nosed hogs do better when turned out in the wild and forced to root for food. From generation to generation, feral hogs develop longer and longer noses. Brisbin showed that in his book.

In comparson, the Chinese breeds like the Meishan (who are wonderfully docile, lazy, precocious and profligate) tend to have short noses:

The best book I've seen on pig breeds and their history is this one. There's amazing variation across the world.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Herbfarm's Pigs

The pigs above weren't able to make it on their own. They got taken up to the house to get help.

When they recovered, it wasn't possible to put them back with the other pigs. They'd been gone too long, so there was fighting. They were pulled out and stuck by the house. Then they got big and started breaking out. That was nerve-wracking, because little pigs can get hurt easily - and these little pigs were practically pets, having been by the house for a few months.

Nobody wants pigs in front of the house forever, so I decided these ones had to go to The Herbfarm.

The Herbfarm's herd started with the pigs below, in a brand-new pen:

Now they've grown up. When I dropped the two new piglets off, they first batch of pigs came to see what was going on:
They've really grown, and they've completely altered their pen, removing all vegetation. They've also excavated a wallow, eaten the electric fence and broken some equipment that they buried the wallow.

When I put the new arrivals in, all the pigs got excited. The medium-sized pigs, who were weak and small a while ago, chased, bit and shoved the new arrivals. The big pigs crowded on the fence, sniffed and made a lot of noise:

The granddaughter of the herdsman cried when I took away her favorite piglets. We explained that she could visit the pigs in Woodinville, and that they'd have a nice and long life.

Pilisvörösvár Photos

There's a blog from a guy in Hungary where he shows photos of his life in Hungary.

A few months ago, he bought some cute Mangalitsa piglets.

Now it looks like one of them has been slaughtered.

The slightly sad feelings when I see the second photo reminds me of why I haven't tried to sell Mangalitsa pigs as pets: selling them as pets would prohibit them serving as food animals, which would ultimately doom the breed.

The only way to keep the breed going is for people to eat the pigs. They need to see pictures of those piglets and think, "hey, those are Mangalitsa! They'll sure be tasty!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Translation Needed: Génbankban szűrik a mangalica-hamisítványt

If there's any Hungarian readers out there, I'd appreciate if you could tell me what this article is all about.

I heard a while ago the Hungarians were going to establish a Mangalitsa genebank. I suspect that's what is going on.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wiesners Will Visit USA, Teach Mangalitsa Skills

Christoph Wiesner roasting a pig caveman-style

Christoph Wiesner, the president of the Austrian Mangalitsa Breeders' Association, and his wife Isabel will visit the USA in late January to teach people how to fatten, slaughter and process (e.g. organs and cured products) Mangalitsa pigs.

Christoph makes his living by slaughtering and processing his own Mangalitsa pigs on his farm, using traditional Austrian methods. He can tell and show you absolutely everything about small-scale raising and processing Mangalitsa. He's exported Mangalitsa breeding stock around the world.

Christoph and Isabel will visit the Herbfarm and The French Laundry, the only American restaurants currently using the best raw material to produce world-class cured pork products.

Marcel Kropf, Christoph's teacher.

For the last year, Christoph has been studying with master butcher Marcel Kropf, Austria's best butcher, in an attempt to learn all that he can before Kropf retires. Here's Kropf showing how to cut up hogs.

If you are interested in learning from Christoph while he's here, please contact me. There will be some very small classes on things like slaughtering hogs, breaking down and curing hogs, making lard and other products, using organs, etc.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Country Hams and Quality

There's an article about country hams in the Charlotte Observer. It mentions that Iberico can cost $125/lb (for slices), while a country ham runs $3/lb - a factor of more than 40.

Everthing about that is backwards: Spain, a country you think of as having cheap labor, makes their cured products with more technology (and lower labor) than the producer in North Carolina. The Spanish stuff also tastes better and costs more than the American product.

The small amount of imported Iberico that I've had doesn't taste as good as what I had in Europe at Amsterdam's airport. If the imported stuff I tried is typical, the American/Spanish disparity is even more glaring; they trounce us with stuff that isn't even their best.

If one day America manages to produce cured pork products as good as Europe's best (perhaps even exporting them to Europe, like wine from California), I suspect it will be because of the efforts of a small and determined group - among them myself, Christoph Wiesner, Devin Knell, Keith Luce, Chris Curtis, Kylan Hoover, etc.

The Herbfarm's Mangalitsas

I visited The Herbfarm's Mangalitsas today and took the photos below.

That thing on the left looks like it belongs in a zoo. It is a hairy and wet creature.

The newest arrivals (right) have gotten a lot bigger since they arrived. Head Gardener and Herdsman Bill Vingelen has them on organic hog mash, as per the instructions of Executive Chef Keith Luce.

On the far left there's a Mangalitsa-Berkshire cross. He's nearly as big as the 16 month-old purebred Mangalitsa, despite being about a 4 months younger.

A closeup of their little pigs. They are friendly and trusting.

One thing about pigs is that no matter how big their pen is, they prefer to hang out, cheek by jowl on the fence, occasionally gnawing on it.

When it rained, the hogs dug everything out and the whole pen flooded. To help the hogs stay dry, they put chips in the front. The ground is raised up significantly. If the hogs wanted to, they could leap that hog panel. They are content to spend their time eating, sleeping and playing.

Above you can see a hog having fun by rooting in the chips. He jams his nose in the dirt and flips up his head. They root even when they've got plenty of food, explaining why feral hogs are so hated.

When the hogs are gone, Bill says he'll plant corn in the pig pen. The hogs have been dunging in there for months so there's a lot of nitrogen to utilize. Corn is good because it needs nitrogen and the part that humans eat is far from any bacteria on the ground.

The pigs line up at feeding time. Although they've got a feeder, the novelty and surprise factor is very compelling. Bill says they absolutely love greens and any forage, including grass. Such feed is good for the fat quality, because of the antioxidants.

Bill's Mangalitsas love him and like to get touched by him.

There's a book whose title (in German) is "Healing Pigs Naturally". It is about alternative medicine - for pigs. Among other things, you can massage them and feed them special plants that kill parasites (instead of drugs refined from those plants). I know Bill will grow those plants for the pigs if he can; that's very Herbfarm.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mangalitsa Goes to 11

Mangalitsa fans know that Mangalitsa goes to 11.

Mangalitsa is the western hemisphere's best-tasting and lardiest hog breed. There's nothing comparable. Unlike Europe, America doesn't have any Mangalitsa substitutes.

As the importer (and only breeder) of Mangalitsa, Wooly Pigs brought not only the pigs, but a new system of raising hogs for optimum fat and meat quality to America. The system is about producing the absolute best-tasting fat and meat by controlling the things that matter, not meeting organoleptically irrelevant (and arguably misnamed) standards like "USDA organic" or "Certified Humane Raised and Handled".

As a result, Mangalitsa producers are the only ones in America producing pork as good as the world's best. Anyone who wants to to produce, eat, process or distribute the best-tasting pork in America or Canada will use Mangalitsa.

Food-loving Americans have embraced Mangalitsa more than I could have ever hoped:
  • Wooly Pigs' first sale was to the French Laundry, America's best restaurant.
  • Seattle customers lined up for fatty cuts like jowls and bellies, and primals likes whole sides, sold at prices from $19 to $25 per pound.
Given Wooly Pigs' rapid and steady ascent, it is easy to forget that in 2006, it wasn't clear the Mangalitsa would find any success at all. The idea that Americans would pay a lot of money for some of the lardiest pork on the planet was crazy.

The fact that newcomers like Wooly Pigs and Red Mountain Farm could appear from nowhere and each sell their Mangalitsa to the best restaurant in America - as their first sales - shows the huge potential in Mangalitsa and our Austrian methods. By doing what it takes to produce the best-tasting product, one can easily beat those focused on different things.

Photo Destined for Television

Given what the food press and bloggers have written about Mangalitsa (and what's in the pipeline), we know that foodies are steadily hearing about it.

Somewhat unexpectedly, there are signs that Mangalitsa is entering the general American consciousness. E.g. in an upcoming episode of "Eleventh Hour", Mangalitsa will play a key role in the plot: Mangalitsa will be described as a super-rare breed of pig that produces the best meat.

I'm surprised that the writers for the show even know what Mangalitsa is. Nobody has sold Mangalitsa down there. Yet somehow they are getting the message.

2009 is going to be a very interesting year:
  • Mangalitsa production should be 20x what it was last year.
  • Red Mountain Farm will continue selling pigs in the Bay Area.
  • More farmers are buying Mangalitsa so they can fatten and sell them in their local area.
  • Wooly Pigs will sell a lot of Mangalitsa in the New York Metro area.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bay Area Mangalitsa Offal

Mangalitsa Offal. Photo apparently by Hank Shaw.

One great thing about Red Mountain Farm, is that they sell pigs in the Bay Area, a trend-setting, food-oriented place. The Bay Area's Hank Shaw is already writing about his experience with Mangalitsa offal.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Mangalitsa catches on the Bay Area.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mangalitsa Pigs Make the Laundry List Again

Red Mountain Farm's Kylan Hoover with Mangalitsa

Around this time last year, my first customer, The French Laundry's Executive Sous Chef Devin Knell, received 3 hogs from Wooly Pigs. The carcasses weighed approximately 700 pounds.

Per Devin's wishes, I had agreed to deliver them chilled (never frozen) skin-on, uncut and with all the organs.

From the moment the hogs got to the slaughterhouse, things went badly. They penned the Mangalitsa pigs with some other pigs, stressing them. They cut up the hogs' heads, ruining them for head cheese. Because I'd agreed to deliver them whole, I had to charter an entire refer truck to deliver them - something expensive and wasteful.

I had similar problems serving my Seattle customers. The most quality-sensitive, The Herbfarm, didn't get their hog's head at all, which really left a bad taste in their mouth. Nevertheless, the hogs were the best (for cured products) that they'd ever received.

Knowing that slaughter and logistics would continue to be a problem, I decided I should sell barrows to people like the Bay Area's Red Mountain Farm and The Herbfarm. Transferring responsibility for the slaughter and logistics closer to (or directly to) the consumer would improve the consumer's experience.

The Mangalitsa is one of the world's best tasting breeds. It not only attracts customers like The French Laundry and The Herbfarm - it also attracts producers like Red Moutain Farm, who are up to the task of delivering the highest quality pork (by controlling breed, feed, age at slaughter, pre-slaughter stress and post-slaughter ripening).

The French Laundry recently took delivery of nine Mangalitsa hogs from Red Mountain Farm, each about 15 months-old (approximately 1800 pounds total). Devin Knell explained that:
  • The hogs were absolutely beautiful, with incredible amounts of fat.
  • He bought a walk-in cooler and built an aging room to process all the meat.
  • He's curing the loins, bellies and hams along with 3 different types of dry-cured sausages. He used all the offal.
  • He processed it all in 3 days.
I'll hopefully have pictures soon.

My Mangalitsa Rillettes

Mangalitsa Rillettes

Inspired by the Mangalitsa rillettes I ate recently, I made two batches of Mangalitsa rillettes yesterday.

I used the 50/50 Mangalitsa trim. It is mostly from the chest of the pig. That's some of the worst fat on the pig, because it is stringy and soft. Nevertheless, that cut of a Mangalitsa is still very valuable, because the fat quality is so high.

I started by cutting the meat and fat up. I removed the arteries, pericardium and blood as I cut the fat up. Then I put it in the slow cooker.

I left the first batch in overnight. When I woke up, the fat was bubbling and there were meat chunks cooking in it. Some of them were hard and brown, so I took them out. The second batch I did during the day, and I added water to them as they cooked, so I didn't burn any.

With both batches, after cooking the meat, I used a colander to separate the meat and the fat. Then I shredded the meat with forks.

Then I put the meat into a pan and heated it longer, after adding salt and spice (just garlic) and a lot of the original fat. Rillette recipes seem to suggest 60% lean and 40% fat, but I used more like 50-50. Mangalitsa fat is so light that using more isn't usually a problem.

Because the rillettes are normally eaten cold, I made sure to put in what seemed like extra salt.

After 30 minutes of simmering, to distribute the flavors, I packed the meat in jars, added a covering of fat and stuck them in the refrigerator. The result, when cooled, looked like the photo at top.

Later on I ate some of each batch. The one that was darker had a stronger taste and was overall more satisfying. Both of them were incredibly tasty.

The biggest surprise to me was that I was able to turn what wasn't very desirable product into something really tasty.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mangalitsa in Germany's "Stern" Magazine

Mangalitsa gets a mention in Germany's Stern magazine. Some of the products in the photo are blood sausage and lard.

Whipped Mangalitsa Lard, Mangalitsa Seven Ways

I spent time with Chef Michael Clampffer of Mosefund Farm recently. He prepared seven different Mangalitsa courses.

The most interesting was the whipped Mangalitsa lard. This dish shows of the strengths of the Mangalitsa - the incredible fat quality. Turning stuff that normally gets thrown away (the rendered fat) into food is nice.

First, he roasted some Mangalitsa belly. As is clear from the photo below, the belly of this 95-lb carcass Mangalitsa is almost entirely fat:

Raw Mangalitsa belly

After roasting, the fat is a bit brown:

Roasted Mangalitsa Belly

Then he added his braising liquid and cooked it a long time. The liquid also contains some herbs and vegetables:

After cooking it got packed away into differen containers. If you look carefully at the photo below, you'll see a piece of belly floating in a bi-colored liquid. The top liquid, which is clear, is rendered fat. The cloudy liquid underneath is the braising liquid.

Mangalitsa Belly Floating in Fat and Braising Liquid

The next day, things have chilled. The fat is easy to extract, because it is semisolid:
Removing the Mangalitsa Fat

He whipped the fat in his mixer, adding in some cornichons, diced toast and vinegar.

Whipped Mangalitsa Lard

To serve the belly, he heated slices, and crisped the fat to get a nice texture. The braising liquid got reduced and used elsewhere. The whipped lard got served on bread.

The full list of things he prepared (all from the same pig) was:
  • Braised belly
  • Whipped lard
  • Panko-crusted fatback, deep-fried in Mangalitsa lard
  • Roasted Leg
  • Italian Sausage (fennel-flavored sausasge, 60% lean, 40% fat)
  • Bacon
  • Pork Rinds (roasted skin)
The guests, all of them experienced food professionals, were very impressed by Chef Clampffer's dinner. Due to the fat-friendly nature of the guests, it was OK to serve fat, fat and more fat. Nobody complained about eating so much fat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Customer Blogs about Mangalitsa

The Mangalitsa trim (50/50) is for the serious Mangalitsa consumer - because it is a lardy, low-value cut of an expensive pig. It takes a leap of faith to buy that stuff.

Here, a customer blogs about her experience with Mangalitsa trim - part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Millennium of Hungary and Its People, My Wonderful Customers

Larry's Mangalitsa Rillettes with Mustard

I got asked the question, "are mangalitsa pigs curly-haired?" today.

Trying to find an answer, I came upon the book "The Millennium of Hungary and Its People" from 1897 which discusses the creation of the mangalitsa pig:

Text not available
Text not available

That was roughly in 1830.

Things have changed tremendously in 170 years: Serbia isn't part of Hungary, pigs don't get driven by swineherds to slaughter - and most importantly, the Mangalitsa is finally available in the Western Hemisphere.

Start eating and you can't stop

Amazing Mangalitsa Customers

I had a customer bring me some Mangalitsa rillettes today at the market. These were incredibly good. The lard with mushrooms, being a lardier product, took a few days for me to eat. The rillettes were 90% gone by the time the market was over.

I've had rillettes before, made from normal pigs. Typically, the fat is a bit repulsive and the meat doesn't taste meaty enough. When I'm done, I often regret eating the stuff. With Mangalitsa, the regret is usually that it is all gone.

The Mangalitsa rillettes had lard on top. It tasted very light and clean. The meat underneath had a very strong flavor. It was possible to eat small portions of the stuff and enjoy it a lot. The stuff didn't last long though, because after about 40 small portions the container was all gone and I went into Mangalitsa rillette withdrawal.

I'm very grateful for such customers. It isn't so much that I'm getting free stuff, but rather, I'm happy to see these people making such tasty things and having a good time doing it.