Mangalica: we save the magyar relative of the iberico pig from extinction

In 1991 we discovered a forgotten breed, on the brink of extinction: the Mangalica pig. An indigenous pig from Hungary with the same Mediterranean bloodline as the Iberico pig.

It is the result of the cross between the breed brought by the Romans and the semi-wild mountain pigs, with subsequent cross-breedings. It is very resilient and tolerates the harsh winters and hot summers of the Hungarian steppe. Snow covers the fields during several months with temperatures dropping to -25o C (-13o F), which explains its higher fat content and thick coat. In 1990 there were fewer than 200 animals in existence.

Its penchant for roaming and its natural feeding on corn, wheat and grasslands, along with the maturity it reaches makes it ideal for the highest quality cured products.

The Mangalica breed underwent an extraordinary development during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, protected by the Emperors themselves. After the Second World War, a portion of the war reparations were paid with thousands of Mangalica sows. The race was unable to recover.

Moreover, the introduction of the larger and faster-growing white pig, and changes in eating habits, contributed to the near disappearance of the breed. In 1991 there were barely 200 Mangalica in all of Hungary.

Until a chance, almost fairy-tale like encounter. The Monte Nevado family saw in this nearly forgotten breed many of the virtues of the Iberico pig and committed themselves to its preservation. Today there are more than 2,000 Mangalica sows. The Monte Nevado family began to cure Mangalica ham and has become the ambassadors of this new gastronomical specialty.

The Mangalica pigs are raised and fed in Hungarian fields and their hams and shoulders are brought to the Monte Nevado drying facilities where they are treated with the same care as the Iberico hams.

The Hungarian state awarded the General Manager of Monte Nevado with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Hungarian Republic for recovering this indigenous breed.

Ham enthusiasts now have a different and new specialty to try, one whose history dates back to the Romans.

Mangalica ham has an intense flavor and aroma, which flow through the mouth and provide smoothness.

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