Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We'd say ... Yes

The point is the breed, as well as the raising.

Is the Mangalitsa the Next ‘It’ Pig? - NYTimes.com

"Well, maybe not yet. Mangalitsa — despite its unctuous, intense flavor — has a very long way to go before it can push aside the better-known porkers. But a small band of farmers and purveyors think this obese breed, only recently returned from near-extinction, can become the next It Hog in the great American pig-out.

The curly bristled Mangalitsa hogs are the most corpulent and unusual in a parade of breeds that has found favor among chefs for their richer taste and fuller fat, including Berkshire, Tamworth, Red Wattle and Gloucestershire Old Spots.

But this year, buttery Mangalitsa pork made it onto the pristine menu at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. Mangalitsa (MAHN-ga-leet-za) has been a menu item at Le Cirque, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Eleven Madison Park, Insieme and Vandaag. And Locanda Verde, Morandi and Seersucker have used Mangalitsa lard in pastry-making."

Monday, November 29, 2010

PigStockTC 2010 Wrap Up from @caterleelanau

PigStock TC was designed as an educational event for professional chefs and was planned and sponsored by Cherry Capital Foods and Michigan Mangalitza. The event focused on a farm to table, nose to tail culinary extravaganza. Andy and I were lucky enough to be a part of the experience as participants. We went through the entire process of slaughtering the pig to cooking and curing all the parts. The event was focused on the Mangalitza pig-a hearty breed originally from Hungary, the Mangalitza are prized for the quality of their fat (less saturated and higher in Oleic Acid) and are a superior breed for all charcuterie applications.

The first day broke clear and cold and was held on the farm at Bakers Green Acres in Marion, MI. Mark and Jill Baker, who raised the pigs for 18 months, assisted Christoph and Isabela Wiesner of the Austrian Mangalitsa Breeders Association. They walked us though the slaughter, cleaning the pig, obtaining and cleaning the organs and initial breakdown of the pig into halves. We were also treated to two delicious meals from Eric and Jen at The Cooks House and given a tour of the farm.

More here: http://caterleelanau.com/blog/2010/11/pigstock-tc-2010-wrap-up/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Myles on "Whole Hog"

From Stella's email newsletter:
Please note that straight cut/paste didn't work well, so a bit of reformatting

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

whole hog Slang
n. The whole way; the fullest extent: went the whole hog and ordered dessert.

…and Myles is going there, quite literally indeed. We have always respected food to such an extent that since we opened our doors 6½ years ago; we have sourced the best quality ingredients, locally whenever possible, and allowed them to express themselves in simple yet imaginative dishes. Our menu continues to change twice daily and over the years we have built amazing relationships with our farmers, their produce, and the land. These deepening relationships have had us thinking about the animals that we serve.

Last winter, Myles started exploring whole animal preparation and you saw some daring dishes grace our menu including trotters and testa! This fall, Myles along with several other chefs from all around participated in the three-day “Pigstock” event that featured the lovely Mangalitsa (MON-go-leet-sa) pig. Among its many attributes, the “Mangalitsa fat is more unsaturated than normal pig fat, so it tastes much “lighter”, “cleaner”, and melts at a lower temperature. The fat is also healthier.”

We took delivery of our first whole Mangalitsa last week. She was 250 pounds total, out of which we had just over five pounds of total waste. Combine that with the fact that the tenderloins topped out at a combined total of just over three pounds. So, once the most desirable and the least desirable parts were gone, we had roughly 240 pounds of top-quality pork remaining; and, it’s really good. We are very happy to be able to reduce waste and honor the animal, while delivering some of the highest quality pork on the market.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Toast the Pig

Bit of Capt Morgan as we toast the spirit of the pig.


We're continuing to add material to the online photo archive
Flickr: PigstockTC

All shots are public, subject to respective copyrights and marked as "safe"

Chef David Eger, from Earthy Delights has some good stuff

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Cherry Capital Foods and Earthy Delights will be the exclusive distributors of Michigan Mangalitsa

Mark and Jill's Mangalitsa's were declared "the best in North America" by Christoph and Isabell Wiesner after their slaughter and butchery at PigstockTC.

Contact Dave or Lee at Cherry Capital Foods or Chambre at Earthy Delights for your orders.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Coincidence ?

Samhain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Samhain (play /ˈsɑːwɪn/, /ˈs.ɪn/, or /ˈsn/)[1] is a Gaelic harvest festival held on October 31–November 1. It was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and was popularised as the "Celtic New Year" beginning in the 18th century.[2][3][4]

Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was traditionally celebrated over the course of several days. It has some elements of a festival of the dead. The Gaels believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain; because so many animals and plants were dying, it thus allowed the dead to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.[5]

Flickr: PigstockTC

You should be able to click on this
Flickr: PigstockTC

For the photo-set from PigstockTC

Please respect any and all copyrights

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Subject to tweaks

Oct 31,
Bayshore Resort, Traverse City, MI
4-6pm Registration
6-8pm Cocktail and Appetizer Reception
3rd floor Meeting room
Appetizers by Grandview Catering, Traverse City, MI

Monday Nov 1st
Celtiic Buses at Great lakes Culinary Institute and Bayshore Resort
to bring you to Michigan Mangalitsa, Marion, MI by 7am
How to slaughter and how to care for organ meats during the slaughter process.
Lead by Christoph and Isabella Weisner, Austria
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided at Farm by
Blue Heron Restaurant Cadillac, MI and
The Cooks House & Wellington Street Market, Traverse City, MI
Celtic Buses will be leaving the Farm around 6pm in the evening.
and returning to Bayshore Resort and The Great Lakes Culinary Institute

Tuesday Nov. 2nd
8:30 am - 5pm at the Hagerty Center
How to make Sausages and what to do with the organs.
Christoph and Isabella Weisner, Austria leading
Dinner starting at 7pm -
Trattoria Stella, Traverse City, MI
Busing from Hagerty Center and Bayshore Resort to Trattoria Stella loading time 6:30pm then back to Hagerty Center and Bayshore Resort Provided by Celtic Bus loading time approx 9pm.

Wednesday Nov 3rd
8:30am - 5pm at the Hagerty Center
How to break and seam butcher a Michigan Mangalitsa pig.
Lead by Christoph Weinser, Austria
Dry Curing Demonstration given by Brian Polcyn
How to make Dry Cure Hams and Sausages

Wednesday Evening
Final Dinner
Starting at 7pm in Lobdell's
Inside the Great Lake Culinary Institute
Lead by Chef Brian Polcyn, Epicure Catering,
Pastry Chef Jehn of Mission Table and
the Great Lake Institute International Culinary Class Taught by
Chef Coburn MacNaughton

Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting some press

Can this curly-haired pig fatten up our economy?

"Luckily for it, the Mangalitsa isn't just another pretty face.

If it were, this heritage breed of Hungarian pig probably wouldn't exist today. And it surely wouldn't be living the good life in Michigan, courtesy of Traverse City businessman Marc Santucci.

Besides a wiry, woolly coat that makes it look like a sheep, what sets the Mangalitsa (mahn-gah-LEET-suh) apart is its thick layer of flavorful fat."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Press Release

Celebrate the Harvest with a “Nose-to-Tail” Eating Event at Lobdell’s Restaurant Overlooking Beautiful Grand Traverse Bay

The most memorable meals start with the best ingredients, sourced as freshly and close to home as possible. Here in Michigan, we’re blessed to have a diversity of homegrown food that’s hard to beat anywhere! And the Traverse City area is home to some of the most talented small farms in the state, as well as a magnet for the professional culinary arts community nationwide.

Two locally owned and operated businesses are hosting a meal to celebrate this bounty, and everyone is invited to attend. On Wednesday, November 3rd, at Lobdell’s Restaurant on the campus of The Great Lakes Culinary Institute, Cherry Capital Foods of Traverse City, and Michigan Mangalitsa of Marion welcome you to join them at a very special dinner prepared by some of the best chefs in the state.

This dinner is the finale of a professional butchery and specialty food preparation course being held at the Hagerty Center earlier in the week, featuring an extremely rare breed of Hungarian heritage pig called the Mangalitsa. Though less well known that it’s Spanish cousin the Iberian Black hog, Mangalitsas have a similar ability to put on fat … and anyone who enjoys eating pork, and the various things made from it, like bacon, salami, or prosciutto, knows how good this meat can be.

With the meal prepared by charcuterie expert Chef Brian Polcyn of Forest Grill in Birmingham, and Cinco Lagos in Milford, and assisted by the chefs from Omena’s Epicure Catering and a brigade of the culinary school’s students, the menu will be a celebration of “nose-to-tail” eating, something world-famous English chef Fergus Henderson has described as, “common sense and even polite to the animal to use all of it. Rather than being testosterone-fuelled blood-lust, it actually seems to be a gentle approach to meat eating.” Take a look at the menu for this five-course dinning experience, which will also feature a selection of the best northern Michigan wines:

  • Assorted Salumi & Charcuterie with Celeriac Salad
  • Crispy Stuffed Trotters, Sweetbreads, Chanterelles, Sauce Gribiche, Pig Ears
  • Seared Sea Scallops on Fall Beans, Soubise, Lardo Spuma
  • Slow Roasted Loin of Mangalitsa, Braised & Glazed Belly, Potato Apple Terrine, Butter Braised Cabbage, Natural Jus
  • Chestnut & Hazelnut Marjolane

Details on attending this special event can be discovered by calling Cherry Capital Foods at: (231) 943-5010.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Lard Story" - New Post on the Earthy Delights Blog

High quality lard is surprisingly easy to make. Of course, you have to start with a high quality raw material. And nothing can beat Mangalitsa fat when it comes to quality.

Recently, I was lucky enough to get my hands on 10 lb of Mangalitsa leaf lard and decided to try my hand at transforming it into pure, creamy lard.

Read more... "Lard Story"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Restaurant success linked to #charcuterie prowess

Jon Smulewitz just might be the prince of Piedmont Avenue. He and his wife, Kayta, own two of the most popular spots on the Oakland strip: Dopo and Adesso. And the young couple - he's 34, she's 30 - are expecting their second child in late December.

"In a lot of ways, I'm living the dream," says Smulewitz, also Dopo's executive chef.

While Dopo celebrated its seven-year anniversary in September, these days Smulewitz might be known more for his salumi at Adesso. The aperitivo bar opened last year just down the street from Dopo and features not one, but two, happy hours - with free nibbles to boot.

Adesso is the culmination of Smulewitz's impressive charcuterie chops. He learned the art of curing meats at Oliveto starting in 1999 under former chef and co-owner Paul Bertolli.

Read more:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Making Pure Mangalitsa Lard

Mangalitsa pigs are known for the high quality lard that they produce. It's surprisingly easy to make your own lard from Mangalitsa fat, especially "leaf lard," the rich fat deposits found around the internal organs.

Click here to view a slideshow showing the production of Mangalitsa lard, all the way from leaf lard to light, flavorful whipped "pig butter."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Updated Schedule of Events

Sunday, October 31st - Pre-event at Bayshore Resort
  • Possible area tour in afternoon, depending on arrival schedules
  • Check-in, packet pick-up: 4-6 pm
  • Cocktail Social Hour 6-8 pm, featuring Hors d’oeuvres and local beers & wines
Monday, November 1st - Day 1 Bakers Green Acres, Marion Mich - Home of Michigan Mangalitsas

Transportation by Celtic Bus - Pickup at Bayshore Resort (Departs 5:30 AM)
  • Farm Tour
  • Feeder and breeder operations and protocols
  • Slaughter of six pigs
Breakfast at farm: Locally produced fruit, bread & rolls, courtesy Mark & Jill Baker
Meals catering by The Cooks House :
Lunch: Cassoulet
Dinner: Pig Roast

Tuesday, November 2nd - Day 2 Great Lakes Culinary Institute & Hagerty Center (Starts @ 8:30 AM)

Offal, Fresh Sausages, Head Cheese
  • Head & Leg Removal
  • Cleaning, Preparation, and Cooking of All Internal Organs
    • Brains
    • Tongues
    • Lungs
    • Kidneys
    • Livers
    • Spleens
    • Hearts
  • Fresh Sausages
    • Blood Sausage
    • Tongue Sausage
  • Two Kinds of Head Cheese
All of this becomes lunch!

Dinner at Trattoria Stella - Transportation by Celtic Bus

Wednesday, November 3 - Day 3 Great Lakes Culinary Institute & Hagerty Center (Starts @ 8:30 AM)

Seam Butchery, Wet & Dry Curing, Fermented Dried Sausages
  • Lardo
  • Dry Cured Ham - Brian Polcyn
  • Wet Cured Belly
    • Bacon
    • Pancetta
  • Wet Cured Ham
  • Fermented Dried Sausages
Lunch: Christof and Isabel Wiesner & Tony Maiele

Final Guest Chef's Dinner - See Here

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rare pig breed resurrected for ham lovers

At one time, only 198 purebred pigs remained in the world. Farmers preferred other breeds. "The corpulent Mangalica grows very slowly and cannot be kept in closed quarters. It is therefore poorly suited to modern industrial pig farms, and it has been gradually replaced by modern breeds," according to the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity in Florence, Italy.

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mangalitsa Piglets Born September 30th, 2010

Marc Santucci and Willi Kohl recently imported 6 Blonde Mangalitsas which are now being raised at Bakers Green Acres in Marion, MI and on Bill Perkins' farm in Swartz Creek, MI.

The first generation of piglets was just born on Thursday September 30th at Bill's farm. Come on everybody, all together now: Awwwwww.....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010


From Chef David @ Earthy Delights (earthy.com) last January at Bakers Green Acres

Mangalitsa Hogs - a set on Flickr

Mangalitsa Hog

And David titled this on "Pure Goodness"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What to expect

The best food starts with the best ingredients.

That’s true in your restaurant, isn’t it? You look high & low for the best stuff available … because that’s why your customers come in for a meal.

And, if you can’t find it from a purveyor, you make it yourself, right?

Just like the well-established trends to higher quality in American beer, wine, cheese, breads, and other craft foods, there is small, but growing movement toward better meat-based products across the country. And for true connoisseurs of salumi & charcuterie, the Mangalitsa hog is considered among the best sources anywhere.

Though less well known than it’s Spanish cousin, the Iberian Black hog, Mangalitsas have a similar ability to put on fat … and anyone who’s made tasty treats with pork knows, that lots of fat is essential to the best flavor, texture, & mouth-feel!

Pigstock Traverse City is your opportunity to work with this hog in an extremely intimate three-day event. You will observe, then experience hands-on, the raising, slaughter, and processing of Mangalitsas from start to finish.

You will learn Old World methods of seam butchery, which allow for more complete utilization of the whole animal, and are especially designed for high-quality whole-muscle preparations.

Your primary presenters are two Austrian-trained expert butchers & farmers: Christof and Isabel Wiesner. This is one of only three events this year in North America to gain this knowledge straight from the source. It is exceedingly rare to have access to these techniques outside of Europe, and space is limited.

So … please contact us today to reserve your spot!

Cherry Capital Foods - (231) 943-5010

Dave Hovest - dave@cherrycapitalfoods.net

Lee Michaels - lee@cherrycapitalfoods.net

Earthy Delights - (800) 367-4709

Ann Marie Pooler - annmarie@earthy.com

Leslie Arnell - leslie@earthy.com

Chambre Beauvais - chambre@earthy.com

Mike Helmer - mike@earthy.com

Chef David Eger - chefdavid@earthy.com

This three-day course is designed to provide you with an appreciation of what makes the Mangalitsa unique, from its breeding & raising practices, to the methods of processing a hog from the inside all the way out, and finally to produce world class salumi & charcuterie products. We’ve also lined-up two well-known American experts in salumi & charcuterie, to round out the knowledge you can acquire by signing-up for this event.

Here are ALL the details:

Day 1: On the farm in Marion, Michigan

Michigan Mangalitsa will host you at their farm where the pigs are raised & fattened. We will process 6 hogs that day, from kill to ready-to-chill carcasses.

Christof will demonstrate and then oversee the kill and carcass preparations, while Isabel will work with the various internal organs. There will also be an amazing catered lunch & evening pig roast from the celebrated Traverse City’s restaurant The Cook’s House, something you definitely don’t want to miss!

Days 2 and 3: On the campus of the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City, Michigan

Classes on these days will teach you the fine art of seam butchery as taught by Christof.

And you will have an opportunity to try everything with your own hand.

Isabel will cook and process the internal organs, with help from class participants.

Everything from kidneys and lungs to headcheese and blood sausage will show up on platters to be tried by all. Come see how to prepare everything but the squeal; absolutely nothing goes to waste!

There will also be detailed presentations with Michigan’s own charcuterie expert, Brian Polcyn, co-author of the James Beard Award nominated book, Charcuterie, and Rey Knight of Knight Salumi Company in San Diego, who will join the Wiesners to demonstrate the entire process of producing dry-cured hams and fermented, dried sausages, utilizing the Mangalitsa cuts made earlier.

Meet the Presenters:

Christof Wiesner was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. He has been breeding and raising Mangalitsa hogs since 1999. Christoph was trained by Austria's best butcher, Marcel Kropf, in animal slaughter and seam butchery. In 2004 he became president of Austria’s Mangalitsa Pig Breeder’s Union. At their farm in Göllersdorf, Arche De Wiskental, Christoph and Isabell breed rare, native Austrian farm animals, as well as local agricultural crops.

Isabell-Christina Zernitz-Wiesner attended the College for Occupation in Service Industries Management and studied at the University of Agriculture. She has been farming full time with Christof since 2006, and organizes regular events at the farm, and well as the direct marketing of the farm’s produce.

Brian Polcyn is an award winning chef and nationally recognized charcuterie expert. In addition to running two of Michigan’s best restaurants, he is also a chef instructor at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. He and Micheal Ruhlman were co-authors of the 2005 book, Charcuterie, considered by many to be one of the most accessible books available on the topic.

Both Brian and this book have been nominated for James Beard awards.

Rey Knight is the founder of Knight Salumi Company. A life-long chef, he was formally trained at the Culinary Institute of America. He specializes in producing salumi and other dry-cured meats without nitrates or nitrites, using time-honored, but largely forgotten Old World techniques.