We’re not sure why these adorable pigs became nearly extinct, but thanks to some hungry gourmands, Mangalitsa Ham is now starting to gain popularity. A breed native to Hungary, Mangalitsa pigs have been rescued by a Spanish producer, raised and aged in the same manner as the more well known Iberico. It may seem counterintuitive to slaughter animals to save them from extinction, yet creating a market for their meat gives them a purpose to be raised, right? After less than two decades of intense breeding, the Mangalitsa population has now increased one-hundred-fold, with 20,000 pigs living in Spain and Hungary.
Allowed to forage in rolling green meadows, getting plenty of exercise as well as high calorie meals, the meat is a stunning mix of mouth-melting fats and deep burgundy flesh, with a very savory, almost nutty flavor. Seems indulgent, but the fats are actually quite high in Omega-3s and natural antioxidants, and low in cholesterol.
We slice Jamon Mangalitsa at the Charcuterie counter, paper thin, and a little goes a long way. Typically 10 slices weighs about .10th of a pound, making it a special treat that won’t break the bank. It’s great for a picnic, an easy dinner without turning on the stove, sharing with your loved ones at brunch, or as a gift.. for Mothers Day, perhaps