Só Mangalitsa. It’s all about the animals.

Virtual visit

At Quinta 1001 Patas, it’s all about the animals. They are our stars. The better their life, the happier the pig, the better our product.
Call it the bio-ethical approach, call it respect, for us it’s just… natural.
All our pigs live outdoors, all year long, with shelters against the rain and the cold, but frankly, they don’t give a *** about rain or cold. 

The females live in 1 big group with their babies. Once the piglets reach the age of 3 months, we bring them to another patch. The 8 breeding males also live together in a separate part of the land. Each plot has trees, bushes, and is in fact a small wilderness; the pigs themselves ‘manage’ the land. A water ‘bath’, a mud puddle, fruit trees, azinheiras, … each group of animals has them available.

After separating the piglets from the mothers, they go live next to their older siblings; 4 groups of different ages, each in their own little country.

Our pigs on television (SIC -- Portugal)

The breed

The pig with the curly hair

Originally the breed is native to Hungary, Austria, Serbia, … the Balkan area. Mangalitsa was once the major breed of this region, providing meat and fat, first for the royal families only, later for all the population. After the second world war, they were almost extinct. In recent years however they made a spectacular comeback, when consumers started to realise that modern breeds have no flavour and ‘pork fat’ is not bad at all for your health; on the contrary.

There are 3 colours in Mangalitsa pigs: red, blond and swallowbelly (dark on top, white below). They all originated slightly different, but give almost the exact same end result. We have all three colours on our farm, both males and females.

The breed is slow growing; if properly done, it takes them about two years to reach a slaughter weight of around 150 kgs. Only 5 to 8 piglets are born per nest and they should stay with their mother for at least 3 months to receive the most valuable start. The curly hair is the main feature that sets them apart from any other breed, although every once in a while we see one being born with straight hair. No worries, meat quality is equally superior.

Also, slightly droopy ears, a black tip of the tail, black nose, skin and hoofs, … Adult males can weigh up to 350 kgs, but only with 4-5  years of age. Females usually only reach 300 kgs, like the one on the left in the picture below.

Newly born babies have a striped pattern across their body, just like wild boar. The piglets loose these stripes when the curly hair starts growing, after 5 to 6 weeks.

Mangalitsas at our quinta

Mangalitsa mothers are protective of their babies, but not in an aggressive way. They recognise us as ‘the people that feed us every day‘ and in the meantime we have become part of their family. We feed them mainly silage, a slightly fermented mixture of sunflower, sugar beet, ray grass, Persian clover, oats, hay of wheat/oats/barley, vetch, brewer’s malt and corn (the whole plant cut while maize is still unripe). And a lot of carrots, tons of pumpkins, acorns and chessnuts for finishing. Females reproduce three times in 2 years and need a supplement of meal. We have our own formula made of barley (60%), whole wheat, carob, some alfalfa (cut young) and bran.

Our animals roam free all year long and they ‘manage’ the land they occupy. We do not interfere when they root trees, eat plants, dig holes, … Twice a day we feed them extra next to the things they find themselves, that’s it. Even if they decide to make their nest outside under some bush (and most of them choose this option), we just bring them a straw bale to make their nest, no more. In doing so, we raise extremely healthy pigs that have no need for extra vitamins, medicine or even preventive antibiotics as most industrially raised pigs do.

After the piglets are separated from their moms (3 months), they stay together in a group of youngster in their own plot of land. With a separate stable, their own ‘swimming pool’, a mud pool, trees and bushes, and an area to play around. The stable is only used to feed them and to make them comfortable with the presence of humans.

For the last 4 months of their happy life, we gradually change their diet. Mainly to help the infiltration of intramuscular fat. No more carrots (because of the colouring effect) but extra carob (natural sugar), pumpkins (fibre and vitamins) and acorns and chess nuts (omega 3 & 9, oleic acids).

You can’t eat meat without slaughtering animals, but we do it in a respectful way. One of us is always present at the slaughter site, talking to them, feeding them acorns, outdoors, in a private field, away from the noises and smells that come with this kind of premises. They don’t see the electroshock coming and die with no stress; we make sure of that. They leave us in the same way they’ve lived their lives, … peacefully.

The meat.

Mangalitsa is called ‘the Wagyu of pigs’ by chefs because of their fat infiltrated meat, but the main aspect of the superior taste is the presence of fat molecules inside the cells. Mangalitsa is the only breed that has this trait. It makes for a spectacular mouth feeling when properly cooked, roasted … We strongly advise to follow the chef’s directions on our website, so you can fully appreciate the top product on your plate.

Read more about it in Portuguese on the Mesa Marcada blog.

All possible info about the breed on Pure Mangalitsa and  Royal Mangalitsa

The meat

Don’t eat meat… unless it’s worth it. 

Flavour, flavour, flavour. Mangalitsa meat is darker than ‘industrial pork’, much more marbled (fat  infiltration), much more covered with external fat layers, and much more savoury. The real reason for the strong flavour is fat molecules embedded in the muscle cells, which give the meat a juicier, richer flavour and bite. The wooly pig is the only breed that has this trait.

You can’t eat meat without slaughtering animals. But you can choose sustainable and healthy meat from animals that are treated with respect.
All our pigs live outdoors all year long, are fed with silage, vegetables, fruit, nuts and natural cereals (no soy, no corn, no additives). The Mangalitsa is known as ‘the Wagyu of pigs’, so the best quality pork there is. Slowly grown (22-24 months), in complete freedom, no stress, no preventive antibiotics, … as pure as can be.

We advise to eat less meat, but when you do, choose the best and the healthiest. This way, eating meat is an addition to your health not a threat. After all, meat is one of the best sources of protein, iron and vitamins.

Nature vs industry

Mangalitsa meat is an ‘old type’ of meat. After the second world war, raising pigs became very industrialised, much more cost efficient. Fat was considered dangerous, modern meat had to be as lean as possible, etc. Various breeds of pigs were crossed  to obtain animals that reproduced very big litters of fast growing piglets of which the tails and some teeth were cut, to not hurt each other in the very confined living space . They were ‘speeded up’ to reach slaughter weight of 110-120 kgs already at 6 months of age. Too young means no flavour, no structure, no fat to the meat. It seemed like the old slow growing breeds were headed for extinction.

Mangalitsa’s started to make a gradual comeback 25 years ago. In the beginning very slowly, but the last 10 years faster than ever. Because of the rediscovery of flavour. Nowadays people know fat is not ‘a bad thing’, want more flavour, are concerned with animal welfare, … things we try to achieve at Quinta 1001 Patas. The Mangalitsa is the most performing breed for these tasks.


The presunto is awesome

Quality has its price. Comparing industrial pork with free range is impossible. Certainly not when it comes to Mangalitsa pigs. Every day, all year, free range … we need 300x more space to keep the same number of pigs. Mangalitsa pigs grow 4x more slowly than industrial pigs. They have 5-8 piglets per nest (14-16 piglets for white pigs). They have only 3 nests in 2 years (at least 6 nests for white pigs). We keep several boars, so no artificial insemination. The weakest animals are not sold as fresh meat, but go to charcuterie. All our work is done by hand; takes 2 people 6-8 hours a day. Strangely enough, we are controlled more scrupulously by veterinarians/IFAP/slaughterhouses/… than industrial breeders. The list goes on.
Further, we supply 100% meat; supermarket meat contains up to 25% water. Our meat is packed vacuum (better conservation).
Quality has its price, and we charge a fair price for a top quality product. The returning customers seem to agree.

Hungry?

Mangalitsa meat is an exclusive product.
Soon more info about our selling point and distribution.
Meanwhile, try your luck and ask for Mangalitsa at these restaurants:

Lisboa:
Bicho Mau
Taberna da Rua das Flores
Boi Cavalo
Erva
and many more soon:)

Coimbra:
Notes Bar & Kitchen

Porto:
Elemento
Almejo
and some more soon?

Algarve:
Ocean, Porches
Avenida, Lagos
Atlantico, Porches