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Oh, what a joy are the Mangalitsa Pigs!
A rare breed pig that produces pork so delicious you think you might have died and gone to heaven.
Nearly three years ago a lovely guest called George bought us a present while he was out shopping. It was a cookbook from a, then little known, restaurant in London called “The Pitt Cue’.
“You’ll like this ” he said plonking the book into my somewhat surprised hands!
Not only did we like it but, little did George know, it would have a radical affect on our lives from there on.
We loved the book partly for it’s fanatical obsession with meat and barbecuing and the welfare of animals and the means of production, but also for introducing us to The Mangalitsa Pigs, which produce a highly marbled meat, shot through with streaks of very light fat and jammed full of omega 3. It is unbelievably tender and succulent and the taste is just ridiculous.
But the problem is you can’t get it.
Mangalitsa Pigs are a very slow growing breed – by pig standards – and it takes a year or more to produce a single animal. Not many people grow them because it’s simply not commercially viable.
At this point let me introduce you to the two fellas on the right, Barbie and Mayo our very own Mangalitsa Pigs! They appeared as piglets at our house as a surprise present for Christmas. At four months old they were already past the point where commercial piglets would have been sent away.
Since then we have got used to the fact our piggies that they look like sheep and they have been happily pottering about on our small farm in Hampshire, trying to uproot the trees and feasting on the left-over vegetables from our local organic veg shop. They’re bigger now than they were then – at 115kg, much bigger! So now the time is fast approaching when we send them off to the great larder in the sky.
We’re all a bit sad as they are splendid beasts, but I can’t imagine a finer, or fairer, way of producing the food we eat than allowing them the carefree life they have had. If all goes well, more Manglitsas will join our little South Downs gang, so we can produce more with direct control of everything – from breeding to feeding, growing and butchering, to curing, cooking and serving.
For now there will be stocks of finest Mangalitsa pork for a few of the discerning guests at the Dome Garden and, if we can wrestle our ageing website into action, some may appear on the internet for sale too.
So watch this space!
PS If you do want to sample any of The Dome Garden Mangalitsa pork you can get in touch via this website or talk to us before your stay, to make sure we have some set by.