Mangalitsa Pigs are a wooly-haired heritage breed from Hungary that, up until the 1950s, were the most abundant pig breed in the region. With the onset of affordable refrigeration and access to foods from outside the area, Mangalitsa's popularity diminished, lowering their numbers to less than 200 in the early 1990s. Thanks to hobbyists who continued to raise the breed, they didn't completely disappear.
Stateside, "the other white meat" campaign caused most pork farmers to breed the fat out of their animals, resulting in an excessively lean and flavorless product. As the artisan movement built momentum over the last 20 years, consumers began to demand quality and flavor over cheap commodity. This is where the Mangalitsa shines!
Often called the "Kobe Beef of pork," Mangalitsa cuts are deep-red and extensively marbled with an almost pure white fat, which comes from the Mangalitsa's tendency to not wait around to be fed; roaming, rooting and foraging for grubs and other tasty treats. This foraging instinct creates the perfect ratio of lean meat to fat and is what makes them a ideal breed for how we like to raise our animals, in a natural and humane manner. If allowed to mature naturally, these pigs will grow to about 300 pounds in 15 months, double the time and weight of most livestock breeds.
While there is plenty of research left to conduct, current reports show that Mangalitsa fat is one of the most beneficial animal fats. It's rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, along with a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to benefit heart health. Most importantly, it tastes amazing.