A picture of a mangalitsa head.

Mangalitsa

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The Mangalitsa — also spelled Mangalitza (UK), and Mangalica (Hungarian) — is a breed of Hungarian domestic pig that was originally produced by crossing the domestic pig with the local wild boar. Mangalitsas are interesting looking woolly pigs — somewhat similar to the English breeds.

A picture of a mangalitsa pig.

Mangalitsa (Sus scrofa domesticus).

Mangalitsa pigs have a very strong bone structure and they are capable of gaining a lot of weight within a short period of time, yet still be able to walk around and forage for food. Mangalitsas are usually kept as semi-feral pigs (occasionally cross breading with wild boars!) and they would eat whatever the land provides including lots of acorns in the autumn when the oak trees start producing them. Eating acorns makes mangalitsa fat rich in unsaturated fatty acids and very soft.

A picture of a mangalitsa pig.

Another mangalitsa pig.

Mangalitsas are kept mainly for high quality lard production, but their meat is gaining popularity again.

A picture of mangalitsa meat.

Mangalitsa meat sold in a Tesco store in Hungary.

Of course mangalitsa bacon is still popular.

A picture of mangalitsa bacon in its packaging.

Mangalitsa bacon.

In fact sometimes other bacon is labelled as mangalitsa to fetch a higher price. One can usually tell the difference because mangalitsa bacon is a lot softer than the bacon coming from most other pigs. You can see in the next picture, that when this piece of bacon was cut up it was very soft, smaller pieces were delicate, and they did not keep their shape but bent and folded. Thus this piece of bacon must have been real mangalitsa.

A picture of some cut up mangalitsa bacon.

Mangalitsa bacon cut up. Observe how soft it is.

Further Readings:

The Woolly Mangalica Pig
An Old Breed of Hungarian Pig Is Back in Favor
Michigan farmers raise furry, Hungarian Mangalitsa pigs to produce the ‘Kobe beef’ of pork
Hungarian National Association of Mangalica Breeders

Last updated: October 10, 2016

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