Jan 14, 2010

Super Bacon

Hungarians have love affair with bacon. It's not a healthy relationship, but, like so many ruinous affairs, it's fueled by passion. I like to tell people that Hungarians have more types of bacon than Eskimos have word for snow. It might even be true. I heard once that the supposed snow-bound vocabulary of Eskimos is just just a fabrication. Also, Hungarians really produce, and consume, a plethora of different type of bacons. It's a question of what part of the pig it came from, and also whether it's cooked, smoked, covered in spices or not, and probably a number of other things I have no idea about.

It is also a question of what kind of pig it came from. Because there are pigs and there is managalica (also spelled mangalitsa or mangalitza). Mangalica is an old Hungarian breed of pigs, directly related to wild boars. They were once popular, but almost went extinct because of those rascally communists.

Piglets are stripy like wild boar piglets.

Mangalica are a hardy lard-type breed. That from the eating point of view that they are super tasty. From the breeding point of view, they grow slower than commercial breeds, but they are much more sturdy, resistant to disease; mangalicas can be kept outdoors almost all year around, with access to shelter. Oh yeah, they are furry too!

Isn't that a handsome face?

I've been following Wooly Pigs for a while. I've even did a few translations for Heath from Hungarian to English. Just before Christmas Heath sent me some mangalica bacon. Now, I like bacon, period, but this was bacon from heaven. The flavor was deep and rich, and it reminded me of the Old Country. It's not just bacon, it's super bacon.

By the way, the four cornerstones of Hungarian cuisine are: bacon, onion, paprika, sour cream.

PS. You can buy mangalica bacon (and lard!) online!