Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OLLI Salumeria Americana

I just read about OLLI Salumeria Americana in the news.

OLLI has used Mangalitsa pork from Baker's Green Acres, Mosefund and Heath Putnam Farms. They also use pork from non-Mangalitsa pigs.

I can imagine some would read that article in the New York Times, and think the only pork they use was Mangalitsa.*

Clearly we've positioned the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa as America's super-premium pig breed. That's neat.

*If people eat Olli's stuff that isn't from Mangalitsa pigs, and mistakenly think it is Mangalitsa, that would be bad for the brand. Because the meat-type breeds don't taste as good.

Serious Pie in Seattle

Serious Pie has some nice Mangalitsa products.

Here's what I got to eat tonight:
  • blood sausage (made with Mangalitsa fat) - this was really good.
  • guanciale (cured jowl)
  • lonza (cured loin)
  • capicola (cured neck)
  • pancetta (cured belly)
Gray Brooks and Kenan Fox do a great job with the cured products. The resulting pizzas are really good.

When you eat a pizza made with really good ingredients, it is awesome.

Unfortunately, you can't necessarily perceive how great all the components (e.g. cured Mangalitsa products) are. Hence, most people who eat the Mangalitsa pizzas probably just think the pizzas are incredible. They can't necessarily say why (e.g. fat quality, processing skill).

If you live in Seattle and like Mangalitsa, I'd definitely suggest that you call over, find out what Mangalitsa stuff they'll have on any particular night, and go in and order them.

It was such a treat to eat this stuff.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More Paleo Customers

In the last few weeks, I've had a bunch of paleo customers show up and buy Mangalitsa products.

You can spot them a mile away. In general:
  • they are thin
  • they are young
  • they have big muscles (jacked)
  • low body fat (ripped)
Upon spotting such people, my first question is if they do CrossFit or not. Roughly half of them do. The ones that aren't are often doing body weight exercises.

What they want to buy: lard, lardo, bacon.

On their diets, they get most of their calories from fat. That's because they don't eat many carbs. It is very hard to eat a lot of protein (just try it) - so most of their calories come from fat.

Among other things, these people show that it is possible to eat a lot of fat and be very healthy.

They are very pleasant people. They are very grateful to be able to buy high-quality fat-rich products.

I give them a price break on everything.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Miss Tiffie's Review of Telepan's Mangalitsa Dinner

Mangalitsa Lardo-filled and lardo-wrapped doughnut,
fried in Mangalitsa lard.

Miss Tiffie has a review of Telepan's Mangalitsa dinner. It looks like a great menu, despite the non-Manglatsa items (e.g. eggs and monkfish).

I liked one photo so much I've duplicated it here (without permission).

That looks like one tasty doughnut!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lee Marvin on How Boars Should Handle Sows

Roger Ebert wrote an essay for Esquire many years ago about Lee Marvin.

Lee Marvin was an amazing man: Marine, sniper, actor and father. As explained in "Lee Marvin: his films and career":
Lee Marvin did not receive his first starring film role until he was 40, but in three short years--following the successes of Cat Ballou (for which he won the Academy Award as Best Actor), The Professionals and especially The Dirty Dozen--he was the most popular film actor in America. Marvin was a fascinating man, a loving husband and father, and one of the most natural, effective actors of his time.
Below is some of Lee Marvin's advice. Although he's addressing how men how ought to behave towards women, on this blog, we stick to pigs. We don't have anything to say about how men ought to treat women; the company simply doesn't address that.

That said, I couldn't help but note that boars (at least our Mangalitsa boars) already behave the way Lee Marvin advises. Over millions of years, they've evolved to do their job. Without fail, they do what Lee Marvin recommends:
LaBoo [a dog], who had edged into the house through a crack in the door, walked out of the bedroom now with a pair of women's panties in his mouth.

"Christ, LaBoo, keep those panties out of sight," Marvin said. "Last night, she says, where'd you get these panties? I dunno, I say. She says, well they're not mine. I say, honey, I sure as hell didn't wear them home." Marvin sighed and held his hands palms up in resignation. "The only way to solve a situation with a girl," he said, "is just jump on her and things will work out."
Ala Marvin, the boars "just jump on them and things work out." The sows that aren't getting jumped may get jealous as they watch a boar breed other sows (the hotter ones) right in front of them, but as long as the boars are appropriately dominant, the jealous sows don't dare cause problems with the boar. Sow-on-sow bullying is a problem, but even then, the presence of a dominant boar reduces bullying.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Answering Machine - Mangalitsa Lard is Sensational

One of DeBragga's customers called and started to leave a message on my answering machine about our Mangalitsa lard. As he explains, "it's sensational!"

His voice is so great, I had to upload it. I talked with him a bit. He was very friendly. It turns out he worked in radio and Hollywood for years. Hence the killer voice.

This is yet more evidence that Mangalitsa products are incomparable with the regular stuff; people - busy, successful people - buy our stuff, then look me up and call to say it is spectacular. This happens so often it is a regular phenomenon, it isn't a once-a-year occurrence.

Our Mangalitsa in Hongkong - 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA

At least for the next few days, you can our Mangalitsa pork at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA in Hong Kong, a 2-Michelin starred restaurant.

Jason Lo from Waves Pacific tells me the chef is using the neck in a ragout, and that it is delicious. My remark: that's an expensive ragout. He might prefer to use the paletilla cut for the same dish; it is a lot cheaper.

Here's a short description of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, from a site that claims it is one of the top fifty restaurants in the world:
It’s probably the most exciting news in Hong Kong’s culinary scene in 2010—

Almost two years after the closure of the legendary Toscana at The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, its former Executive Chef—Hong Kong’s very own “Best Italian chef in Asia” Umberto Bombana is back with his most personal and distinctive project ever—8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA. Strategically located in the heart of Central in the elegant Alexandra House, the new project of the Italian maestro, also hailed as “King of White Truffles” has already become the hottest high-end fine dining spot in town.

The restaurant name, selected personally by Bombana as a tribute to his favorite Italian film director Federico Fellini’s 1963 autobiographical movie “8 ½”, is a celebration of both Italian lifestyle and art and an invitation to enjoy and discover life pleasures. As Fellini’s classic, the new spot promises to be chef Bombana’s masterpiece and another distinctive mark in his culinary career.

The new restaurant features a cozy lounge and bar area with wooden decorations and soft lightings. The warm and welcoming ambience makes it the right spot to enjoy the restaurant’s signature “Sweets and Tea” in the afternoon or a sumptuous “Milano Style Aperitivo” after a long day at work while admiring prestigious artworks by Popart creator Andy Warhol or Spanish master Pablo Picasso.

Focusing on genuine contemporary Italian cuisine, the new restaurant will offer a-la-carte menu for both lunch and dinner, while chef Bombana’s creations will be brilliantly revealed through the “Lunch 8 ½” and “Dinner 8 ½” menus regularly changing according to the best daily freshest produce to ensure the highest standard of quality. A look to the spacious walk-in wine cellar, collecting more than 2,000 bottles from all over the world, will make sure that guests will find the perfect pairing for their delicacies.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mangalitsa Soap

Lavender in front, rose in the middle and
calendula & poppy in the back.

Here's some soap made from our Mangalitsa pigs.

As in "Fight Club", we* take the best fat, render it and use it to make the best soap.

The special qualities of Mangalitsa fat carry over into the soap. The soap is particularly slick. It feels amazing on the skin. I love shaving with it.

I've been giving away soap to customers and friends. Nearly everyone loves it.

*Lather Unusual in Seattle makes and sells this soap. It is made from Mangalitsa lard (not lardo).

The Legend of Jowlzilla

Have you heard of the Hogzilla? In a nutshell, a guy killed a giant pig (or so he said). He took a picture of it. Then he buried it.

Some people figured the famous photo was fake. The pig was just too big. Later, scientist exhumed the thing and determined Hogzilla was real. The story behind Hogzilla, and the guess as to how he got so big, was interesting and believable.

Now there's Jowlzilla.

My guess: that jowl isn't cut the way people normally cut jowls off a pig. We've killed the same pigs* and at 280#, and I don't think they have jowls that heavy.

Some butchers cut jowls in such a way that some of the shoulder winds up attached to the jowl. When they do that, the jowl will be heavier and the shoulder lighter. I'm guessing that that's the explanation for Jowlzilla.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Irritating Misspellings of "Mangalitsa"

Pigs for sale.

The Hungarians created several "mangalica" breeds (PDF). The original Hungarian name is derived from a Serbian word, referring to how easily the pigs fatten.

"Mangalica", transliterated into German, is "Mangalitza". Transliterated into English, it is "Mangalitsa". There's a Serbian version, "Mangulica".

Unfortunately, Mangalitsa and "Mangalitza" are a real mouthful. People have a hard time spelling it right. Sadly, I've seen all too many chefs having "MangaLISTA" dinners.

The most common misppelling Americans make is "Mangalista". Perhaps people are used to typing "list", so they type out "Mangalista".

In any case, there's simply no excuse for "Mangiditza". I can't believe there's someone raising Mangalitsa pigs who mangles the spelling that badly - but there is, as you can see by clicking here.

I get phone calls and people ask me for "Wooly Pigs". I always say, "we have Mangalitsa pigs," or perhaps, "we have Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa pigs". I'm hoping that eventually people will figure it out.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Revival Market Opening Monday

Come Monday, there's finally going to be a store where people can go in and buy Mangalitsa pork retail on a daily, regular basis - thanks to Morgan Weber and Ryan Pera.

Various stores across the USA have, from time to time, offered Mangalitsa pork. Unfortunately, none of them has stuck with it.

Hence, no American consumer who wants to eat Mangalitsa can walk into a store and know that the stuff will be there to buy. Americans value convenience and certainty; it irritates them off when they can't get what they want. They really like it when they can get what they want. And by "liking it", I mean "spend money freely."

To me, what's neat about Revival Market is that one of the owners, Morgan Weber, is committed to the Mangalitsa breed. He's got his own production - start to finish. He's going to have sell it through his store. He can't easily decide to stop carrying Mangalitsa.

In addition, Morgan's partner, Ryan Pera, processes the meat. So they can control all the variables that matter to deliver excellent quality Mangalitsa products to their customers.

For the same reason I'm happy that restaurant groups are committing to Mangalitsa pigs, I'm delighted that Morgan Weber has a retail store - they are committed to Mangalitsa production, and they've got it within their power to make and sell great products to people.

Good luck Morgan and Ryan!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Talk with Mainstream American Pig Genetics Expert

I'm about to sell a bunch of breeding stock to one of America's mainstream pig genetics suppliers.

When I say a bunch, I mean a bunch: multiple purebreds, crossbred F1 Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa x Berkshire sows, 75% Mangalitsa sows, etc. The full monty.

In America, there are a few meat-type breeds that produce pretty much all the pigs that go to market. This is an astonishing number of pigs - roughly 121 million pigs per year.

That 121,000,000 living, breathing sentient creatures, produced from a very narrow pool of genetics.

It is all possible due to semen.

Basically, a single boar can sire 1000 litters of pigs per year. It is possible to put superb boar on stud and have him produce approximately 12,000 pigs per year.

So a few days ago we had the mainstream pig genetics guy out to the farm to see the Mangalitsa pigs. His initial remarks:
  • Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa pigs are very fine boned. That is, their bones are very small. There's not much bones holding up all that fat. If this doesn't make sense to you, take a look at Babsi, and tell me if you think her bones look thick and heavy, considering all that fat they are holding up.
  • They aren't that deep-bodied. They are quite flat, like a leaf (look at European Wild Boar - typical killing tactic: flip them on their side, sit on them, they just can't get up before you stick them). Unlike pretty much all commodity pigs, Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa pigs (indeed, all the Mangalitsa breeds) are not round like a barrel.
  • They aren't as big as he thought they'd be. That is, small and very fatty.
  • Golly, they sure are fat!
It is going to be fascinating, over the next few years, to see what impact Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics have on American pork production.

Basically, once we sell the genetics to this Iowan, the genie is out the bottle. If you want to get some semen to radically improve your meat quality, you'll order it up and it will come. And you'll produce some amazing meat and fat.

Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics for everyone, at a reasonable price. That's how Iowans roll!

You want cheap food? Iowans deliver. America is the Saudi Arabia of pork because of Iowans, and the climate of Iowa. You probably don't understand this if you aren't in the food producing business - but basically, Iowa has some of the most productive soil on the planet. There's no better place to grow food (aka "corn and beans" = "corn and soybeans"). And Iowans are some of the most productive people on the planet. Food in Iowa is essentially free, hence pork is dirt cheap.

Now that we're letting the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa out of the bottle, the Spanish (and unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, Hungarians) best be quaking in their boots. Because if there's money to be made in extreme lard-type hogs, or even just lard-type hogs (produced from Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa crosses), Iowans are going to produce it, and very cheaply. Iowans have the absolute lowest cost of corn production in the developed world. And hence Iowans have a competitive advantage in pork. That's geography. There's no escaping it.

You don't believe me? Spend some time in Iowa. It will blow your mind.

In the recent past, 100 years ago, America dominated lard-type pork production. We can and will do it again. Even if I don't make a dime off it, it is going to happen, because of geography and climate.

Hence, "due to being firstest with the mostest" it won't be the Iberico breeds that improve American meat quality - because nobody has imported them to this hemisphere. It won't be Swabian-Hall or Meishan. It will be Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa (Hungarian "Fecskehasú mangalica") genetics.

It is odd to think that of all the things I've done in my life (I've been exceptionally productive), propagating the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa is going to figure in my epitaph. My decade-long quantitative finance career probably won't make the epitaph.

Hear me now, believe me later: if you want to produce the best-tasting food in the 21rst century, and if you live in America, you will use Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics. Most likely, your semen will come from our mega-boars Hans or Franz, or pigs sired by them. Or perhaps from those lazy girly-boars living in Austria on the farm of Familie Wiesner, Michael and Rüpli, who sired some of our initial litters.

Mark Bittman Loves Mangalitsa for Rillettes

I saw in the New York Times something from Mark Bittman, writing about rillettes:
That fat should be pork fat, sometimes difficult to find sold by itself (a real butcher solves that). What works well is to start with the fattiest pork shoulder you can find, one that’s marbled with thick stripes of white. (If you can find it, the Mangalitsa stuff is amazing, and perfect.)
So Mark Bittman, food authority, says our stuff is "amazing" and "perfect". What more endorsement do you need?

Mangalitsa trim (50%) works well for rillettes. Call me (253-833-7591) if you want some trim!

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.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mangalitsa Pork in the New York Press

Mosefund Farm sells Mangalitsa pork in New York City. We also sell Mangalitsa pork in New York City, via our distributor, DeBragga. One consequence of their being multiple sources for Mangalitsa is that there's more press about it.

For example, just from today, there's two articles in the New York media about Mangalitsa pork.

The first is an article about Bill Telepan using Mangalitsa pork from Mosefund. He recently competed in New York's Cochon 555 with a Mangalitsa pig from Mosefund.*

I like how Chef Telepan answered the question, "What's so special about this pork?"

"It's the fat," said Telepan. "There's something beautiful about this fat."

That means Telepan really gets it. He isn't just into Mangalitsa because the lean meat tastes the best. He's into the fat, which is a good thing, because Mangalitsa pigs are ridiculously lardy.

The article explains:

Telepan's menu follows that concept. The pig is prepared in 13 different forms, from "crispy bittys" (skin) to black pudding sausage (blood).

Items on Telepan's mangalitsa menu include bratwurst, pork belly confit, a donut with "lardo" (Italian cured fat) filling, and roasted pork with roasted skin sauce, among other porky delights.

Then there's a review in the New York Times of Veritas. Veritas buys our Mangalitsa from DeBragga.

As the caption explains, the Mangalitsa is reason enough to rush to eat at Veritas.

I like how they are using it:
A 2007 syrah from California’s north coast, for instance, the Pax Cuvée Christine ($76), was a lively companion to Mr. Hazen’s funky, superb Washington state Mangalitsa pork, brined in maple, roasted in rendered pork fat and served with braised, panko-crusted fried pork-neck meat, over wilted butter lettuce and charred tomatoes, with a dressing of whipped maple syrup, grape must and pork drippings.
A lot of readers might not understand what cut the neck (aka "coppa") is. Basically, the more flavored and marbled extension of the loin to the head. It is neat to think of making schnitzel out of the neck - that would be tasty. Of course, the Mangalitsa neck alone is awesome.

If you read the review, it is clear that the guys behind Veritas are players:

Mr. Hazen, known primarily as the kitchen force behind the mega-club restaurants Tao and Tao Las Vegas, has introduced to the restaurant a tightly focused, extremely flavorful and somewhat less expensive à la carte menu of aggressively American cooking, terrifically executed by Alexander Williamson, his chef de cuisine. The sommelier Rubén Sanz Ramiro matches the treasures of Mr. Smith’s cellar to it with both an eye toward value and a firm understanding of glee.

I'm honored they chose our stuff.

But wow, those guys sound intimidating. I can't help but feel like Richard Pryor in "Stir Crazy", where he and his partner-in-crime, Gene Wilder, feel they have to project an aura of toughness because they are swimming with the sharks.

* So far, all the Mangalitsa pigs that Mosefund has sold have been bred by us - but that's changing, now that Mosefund is farrowing their own Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa pigs.

Our Hong Kong Distributor Waves Pacific

Our Hong Kong distributor mentions our Mangalitsa pork on their website.

They've got a picture of braised belly. You can see layers of skin, fat and meat.

I'm not an expert, but I've heard this is a typical Chinese way to eat meat - you want skin, fat and meat. Americans are different - many of them just want meat.

Edible Piedmont Article on Johnston County Hams

Edible Piedmont has an nice article on the Mangalitsa ham from Johnston County Hams.

You can download the PDF by clicking here.

As the author explains:
... I have just discovered one of the most magnificent flavors that I have ever put in my mouth - a dry cured, aged Mangalitsa ham, sliced in the style of a prosciutto, and it truly melts on the tongue.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book: "The Joy of Hobby Farming"

Skyhorse Publishing sent me a copy of "The Joy of Hobby Farming" by Michael and Audrey Levatino.

It is interesting - it covers growing berries & mushrooms, farming timber, keeping bees, raising chickens, keep llamas, horses, cows, etc. It hadn't occurred to me that one could grow that much stuff on a small farm - but when you see it, it is obvious. The pictures that go with the different sections are very nice.

It is targeted at people with rural properties who want to use the property sustainably while maintaining a job off the farm.

There's nothing in the book about pigs. When I read the book, I understood why.

What's nice about chickens, llamas, horses, cows and goats is that the "cost" of keeping them is low. By "cost", I mean not only feed and labor, but the negative externalities like smells, rounding up pigs when they get out, repairing whatever they destroy, etc.

Basically, pigs are more work than the other animals; they are pretty much always a bother, except perhaps the ridiculously lazy Meishan pigs - who really belong in their own category.

Reading the book, I'm reminded of The Herbfarm's farm, and the farms belonging to other restaurants. I think that might make a neat book: how to run a garden/farm that serves a restaurant.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Amazing Customer

I have a Seattle farmers market customer. He's a professional rigger - specializing in entertainment - and a chef at a winery. What's rigger? He's the guy that makes sure the trapeze artist doesn't fall down. He's a transplanted Italian-American from the East Coast who really cares about food, and particularly Mangalitsa.

Last time I saw him, he said he was making pasties with Mangalitsa lard, and they were turning out great. He said he'd bring me one. I said that'd be great and forgot about the conversation.

I was at the market today, in the cold and rain, and he appears, with a warm pasty. It will filled with beef and carrots.*

The crust on it was simply amazing. Light and flaky. It was a 100% Mangalitsa lard crust. I haven't had a savory pie that good in a long time. It was so good I had to share some of the crust with my neighbor; he agreed it was fantastic.

I can't believe I've got customers who will bring me tasty warm food on a cold and rainy day.

I gave him some loin bacon to thank him.

* He and I agreed that it would have been a lot better if he'd filled it Mangalitsa - but it was still an incredible pasty all the same. If I was busting those out at home, I'd be sharing them too, because it tastes so good.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Pigs in the News

Below are some Mangalitsa sightings from the web.

I bred those pigs. I have no idea who fattened, slaughtered and sold the meat to these chefs. I'd not heard of these chefs until tonight. Still, it looks like fun:
I'm especially pleased that the guy going to the Beard House is using Mangalitsa. It is very important dinner. He could choose to serve other things, but he's chosen Mangalitsa.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finishing Diet

Salumeria Biellese's products from our pork at Eataly.

I read this post about some pigs near Portland and thought, "those pigs are going to have really soft fat":
They’ve been feasting on food scraps from the Allison Hotel, on green veggies, on bread from the Pearl Bakery, and lots of hazelnuts.
I find it interesting how people talk about this stuff. An uninformed reader, might assume, from the tone, that that diet is a good finishing diet. It isn't. People have known since 1867 that that sort of diet produces soft pork. That's 144 years. These days, it is clear what to feed pigs to make them taste good.

I don't know what's wrong with feeding old bread (you'd think it would be mostly starch), but my friends in Austria say it produces lousy fat. The food scraps will be high in polyunsaturated fat. The hazelnuts are fairly high in polyunsaturated fat. The pigs ensile that fat.Additionally, the monounsaturated fats in the hazelnuts will lead to less saturated fat in the pork. Odors in the dietary fat will wind up in the pigs' fat.

One problem we've got is that the typical quality of pork fat is so low in this country that people are turned off by pork fat. That hurts Mangalitsa producers.

It is like producing world-class Arabica coffee in a country that mostly produces and drinks the lowest grade of Robusta. You spend a lot of time trying to convince people why they should give you a chance.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Garces Trading Company

Jose Garces place Garces Trading Company got a Mangalitsa pig from Mosefund. Jose is talented. Like another Mosefund client and Mangalitsa fanatic, he beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef.

There's an article online showing the pig as Adam DeLosso at Garces Trading Company cuts it up.

It is a magical pig. Look at how fat that thing is! Mosefund doesn't cut any corners on feed - their Mangalitsa fat is some of the hardest and whitest.

I'm very happy that Mosefund sold this pig to Garces. He's a great chef, and he'll do great things with it.

At one point in this pig's life, I owned it. Then I sold it to Mosefund. They fattened it and Garces bought it. That pig got to live in Iowa and New Jersey. It will get eaten in Philadelphia. Look at a map; that pig got around.

Fairly soon, Mosefund will farrow their first litters of Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa pigs. That will be exciting!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cambridge Packing & our Mangalitsa

Cambridge Packing in Boston, Massachusetts is distributing our Mangalitsa.

Order from Jonathan at 617-269-6700.

I'm very excited about this. Right now, we've got ground distribution in New York (DeBragga & Spitler), Hong Kong (Waves Pacific) and now Boston (Cambridge Packing).
If you do your research, you'll see they carry the best products in their respective markets.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's So Great about Restaurant Groups Buying Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa Pigs

Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa Sow

Recently we've been selling Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa pigs to restaurant groups or their owners.

E.g. the Besh Restaurant Group has a farm behind their restaurant La Provence. They've got some Mangalitsa feeder pigs on that farm. They've just bought Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa breeding stock from Heath Putnam Farms.

Similarly, Hidden Creek Farm in Wisconsin is affiliated with the SU Restaurant Group, which owns several restaurants in Milwaukee. They have some Mangalitsa feeder pigs. They've put Mangalitsa pork on the menu at Carnevor. Very soon, they'll buy their own Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa breeding stock.

What's so great about this? Basically, once these guys have the breeding stock, they'll be producing and using the pigs in their restaurants - for years. The fact that they've committed to Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa pigs means they are deeply committed to using Mangalitsa fat, for the long haul.

They are on-track to their restaurants into Mangalitsa-powered kitchens. They are doing it because they know they are going to better off for it.

Read this blog - or eat some Mangalitsa products - and you'll learn that Mangalitsa pigs, fattened properly, produce some of the world's best meat and fat. You can make things from their meat and fat that you can't make from other breeds of pig - because the Mangalitsa breeds are totally different from all common pig breeds. Mangalitsa pork is in its own category.

Once these restaurants start killing pigs, they'll be making all sorts of Mangalitsa-specific dishes, like this one above from Alon Shaya at Besh's Domenica. That's Mangalitsa belly - basically, a small amount of ridiculously tasty fat.

Unless you actually eat Mangalitsa belly, you cannot imagine how good it is. You can't really communicate how good that dish is with words - as this 2008 piece from food writer Rebekah Denn shows.

You can't make a pork belly dish like that from other pigs. Its Mangalitsa or nothing.

The fact that these restaurants will use Mangalitsa pork means that when you get bacon at a Besh restaurant, it will look like this stuff above. It tastes incredibly good.

Also, the fact that these guys are going to own the pigs means they'll be using lots of lard, because if you've got Mangalitsa pigs, you've got a lot of lard. And if you feed your pigs right, and render the lard correctly, it is amazingly good.

Chef Erick Loos of La Provence was telling me he made a dessert of from lard, gelatine and other ingredients. He said it is fantastic. It would be probably gross if it wasn't Mangalitsa lard.

They are going to market the fat to their customers. Them having the pigs means more and more, people are going to understand that there's pork, and there's Mangalitsa. That there's the gristly, chewy nasty fat typical of common pigs, and then there's the delicious melt-in-your-mouth Mangalitsa fat.

In any case, they won't be talking about how great their butter and olive oil is; they'll be talking about how great Mangalitsa lard is, how they cook nearly everything in it, and how their restaurants are some of the few in the USA with such incredible ingredients.

I'm going to lose some business by selling the breeding stock. They aren't going to buy as many feeder pigs, because they'll be breeding their own. Nevertheless, my company is going to win, because these guys are going to communicate to the other potential customers that they need to be using the stuff that we are selling.

I can talk about how great Mangalitsa lard, lardo, guanciale and bacon is until I'm blue in the face. If chefs do it, particularly if famous chefs like John Besh do it, people listen.

The chefs that create demand for the fatty cuts are the ones that ensure that the Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa breed has a future.

As I've explained before, my company has done a lot to try to bring "Mangalitsa technology" to the USA. It has taken years, but there's lots of people across the USA who understand how special these pigs are.

I'm hoping one of these chefs will eventually come out with a definitive Mangalitsa cookbook, explaining how to take a whole Mangalitsa pig and turn it into food. The guy furthest along that is Mangalitsa Chef - he's been releasing recipes like mixtapes.

Right now, my goal is to prepare these restaurant groups to beat the pants off their competition with Mangalitsa. We want to make sure that they know how to:
  • Fatten the pigs to reach their goals.
  • Kill & cut up the pigs to make the most money.
  • Turn the Mangalitsa pork into the best food possible.

I'm a bit surprised at how this is working out. I thought that smaller restaurants would buy pigs and do the same thing. Instead, we are seeing restaurant groups committing to Mangalitsa pork.

My understanding is that the restaurant groups are big enough and smart enough to invest the the resources and reap the benefits of switching to Mangalitsa. The smaller restaurants haven't figured it out yet, or don't have the resources.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pictures of New Pigs at Seaton Place

Here's some pictures of the pigs at Seaton Place, a farm in Virginia.

The farm looks very nice, and a lot warmer than Iowa.

The owner wanted some blonde pigs. I explained that our purebreds are all Swallow-Belly Mangalitsa*, but that we've got blonde crossbreeds (7/8ths Swallow-Belly).

He wanted them, so I sold them.

There's something like 24 genes that control how a pig's bristles turn out. The blonde pigs have just a few different genes than the purebreds, but they look very different.

He also got some feeder pigs, so he can get some meat soon.

Eventually he'll have feeder pigs, and then meat. It is neat the finally people in the DC area will be able to get some Mangalitsa produced nearby.

* There are a few different Mangalitsa breeds. You can tell them apart by their colors. The Swallow-belly Mangalitsa pigs look a bit like Swallows.

See "Do Mangalica pigs of different colours really belong to different breeds?" by Zsolnai for more info on the different Mangalitsa breeds and their history.

The Salumeria Awaits

Joe Kohen for The Wall Street Journal:
The new restaurant in Jersey City's quaint Paulus Hook neighborhood offers crepes, gelato and specialty cheeses and meats, alongside their takes on classic dishes from France, Italy and Spain...

The dishes are on the smaller side, leaving room to explore the mini salumeria in the back. Limited-time specials included Iberian ham and Mangalitsa, a woolly Hungarian pig. ("A hideous creature, but it tastes divine," Mr. Garcia said.)

EU Defence Minister Dinner

As the article says:

The main course prepared to match the wine was “Mangalitza Spare Ribs with Paprikas Potatoes”. Mangalitza proved once again to be a good choice to follow Chicken Soup Újházy Style in this series of dishes, and it presented an opportunity to demonstrate our values. Regaining popularity in Hungary since the early 1990s, Mangalitza, which is also native to this country, has been kept in high esteem in several areas in this geographic neighbourhood of Europe. It has been common since the early 19th century and is currently, protected by law. To make the meat dish for a dinner with over three hundred guests at the table, the vacuum technology (sous-vide), was called into play once more. Cooking on low temperature yielded delightful texture and zest, accompanied with paprikas, potatoes made using a new approach rather than the style customary in peasant or civic kitchens, which uses lard, onions; and powdered red paprika. Like the spare ribs, sliced potatoes and paprika were also prepared under vacuum, on low temperature, and were conjured up to become a 21st century reincarnation of a tiller's simple dish, by adding bacon mousse, gravy (jus) and onions.

The dish was traditional and innovative at the same time, just as the wine, Szilénusz 2007, which inspired it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mangalitsa Pigs for the F Word Kitchen

Mangalitsa pigs in F Word TV Show - from YouTube.

Here's a clip on the F Word Kitchen (Gordon Ramsay's restaurant) and some Mangalitsa pigs.

According to Ramsay:
  • rarest breed of pork ever in their kitchen
  • beautiful meat
  • stronger, "gamier" flavor
  • fattiest pig in the world, perfect for salami, cured loin and bacon

I take issue with the following:
  • Mangalitsas don't taste gamey. They taste meaty, like read meat. I've eaten a lot of Mangalitsa. None of it has tasted gamey like venison.
  • The pigs aren't particularly skittish. Other breeds of pig are a lot more jumpy. Mangalitsa pigs are particularly calm.
In any case, I'm happy to see Mangalitsa pigs getting some media attention. I think it is great that restaurant groups like Besh Restaurant Group and SU Restaurant Group in Milwaukee are committing to Mangalitsa pigs and pork.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Besh's Mangalitsa - via Alon Shaya

Alon Shaya's photo of Mangalitsa Porchetta

Here's a dish from the Besh Restaurant Group's Alon Shaya, "Crispy mangalitsa porchetta with mustard vinaigrette and spicy green salad."

I would guess they've got belly and some neck in there - mostly belly. That white stuff is fat. It tastes incredibly good. The vinaigrette ought to give it some nice acidity.

I'm so happy to see a restaurant that isn't afraid to serve Mangalitsa belly this way. To my knowledge, John Besh's six restaurants are the only ones in the USA that do it this way, to the tune of a few hundred pounds a month. Mangalitsa Chef likes it that way too - but his place is small in comparison.

Although we sell bellies to customers in New York, I believe they cure them into things like bacon and pancetta. They don't have the courage to serve food this tasty. I expect the Hong Kong chefs will serve the bellies this way. That's more of a traditional Chinese way to do it.

Having eaten belly the way Besh does it, it would really surprise me if anyone ate Besh's Manglaitsa belly and didn't think it was absolutely incredible.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sausage Debauchery

The Sausage Debauchery continues to impress me with his products and photos. The one above is his lardo in the style of Colonnata.

I read and enjoy his blog.

This one above is one of my favorites of his - the cured neck.