Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Mangalitsa Pigs: The Planning and Plotting

Hungary and the Balkans provide excellent Sessile Oak for wine barrels.  As a winemaker, I thank them for that.  They also must be commended for giving the world the Mangalitsa or Wooly Hog. Decedents from wild boars in and around the Balkans, the pig is also known as Mangalica in Serbia, being described as having "a lot of lard".  Before the advent of refrigeration, fat was king in the world of preserving.  Mixed in preparations or slathered on top of jars containing foodstuffs, lard was it.  And the Mangalitsas were pack'n.
Favored for this, the hog found an easy home in Eastern Europe in the late 1800's.  Popularity for this curly-haired hog began to wane in the 1950's as Westinghouse and the likes, began touting their "new" invention for the kitchen.  Out was Old World food preservation, out was the Mangalitsa.

If you remember anything from those millions of episodes of Julia Child you watched in the late 70's "...fat is flavor!"  That might well scare the lipid-conscious but, I assure you, when skillfully prepared this meat is healthy and succulent!  Mangalitsa, you're back on deck!  Here Piggy, Piggy!

On March 7th, 2009 a few lucky soles will get a very, very rare treat.  Visconti's Italian Restaurant in Leavenworth, WA will be hosting Napeequa Vintner's third annual winemaker's dinner.  The Mangalitsa has been chosen to be the "beast of burden" to carry our wines to new heights.  Today Dan, Randy and Steve of Visconti's (trio of chefs) and myself (shown left to right in the pic above) sat down for a little planning session.  "Pair that pig!" was the war cry.  Four hours later, we had the code.  Unoaked Chardonnay with Pork Pate Campania, Rose with Prosciutto and Pancetta Wrapped Prawn, the Malbec with Cotecchino and Lentils, Trailhead with Poached Pork Tenderloin and Porcini Mushroom Risotto!  Anybody hungry?

The great 20th century philosopher Vincent Vega said it best when he told Jules "Yeah, but bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good!"

See you for supper,


If you're interested in this feast, call Visconti's @ 509-548-1213, mention "the Napeequa dinner"... they'll know what you're talking about!

Meet the Mangalitsas @

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