MAKE MINE A MANGALITZA

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The boulder of meat above is a bit of a Mangatitza (aka Mankalica and Mangalitsa), the magnificent pig of Hungary that has a fleece like a sheep, develops fat with magnificent aplomb   and stores mineralized nuggets in that fat called grammel, nature’s own dietary supplement.

The Mangalitza has become something of a fashionable pig in the UK, which is ironic, as it owes its existence to our very own Lincolnshire Curly Coat, which is, sadly, extinct. Both breeds were distinguished by their flocculent exteriors that allowed  them to forage and flourish outside and protected them from harsh winter conditions. In the 19th Century, it was feared that the Mangalitza was die out, and so several Lincolnshire Curly Coat boars were brought over to ginger up the numbers of their Hungarian cousins.

The fate of the Curly Coat was the reverse. The Howitt report of 1955, that concluded that the diversity and specialised nature of British pig breeds stood between British pig farmers and world domination,  did for the Lincolnshire Curly Coat ( as it did for the Cumberland Pig, the Dorset Gold tip and the Yorkshire Blue and White), and left us with Landrace, Large White and Welsh Pigs as the basis of our pig industry.

I don’t want to deal with the short-sightedness of and absurdity of this masterplan here. I want to celebrate the Mangalitza, in which the Lincolnshire Curly Coat lives on. This rock of meat was hewn from the neck, and roasted gently for 6 hours. As anyone who knows anything about meat will testify, those muscles that do the most work have the most flavour. Few parts of a pig work harder than the neck, building up taste and texture. Yes, they take more cooking, but you’re rewarded by the splendour of the end result – sweetness, succulence, resonant flavour, mouthful after mouthful after mouthful.

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