There’s an animal you probably don’t know… but you’re about to find out why you should. It’s called the Mangalitsa and it hails from Hungary circa 1830. It’s healthy, it puts on a lot of weight, and supposedly it tastes fantastic.
Oh… and it looks a lot like a sheep.
But nope. It’s not a sheep.
Archduke Joseph Anton Johann decided to cross some Sumadija pigs with Bakony (mmm, bakon) and Szalonta pigs, which resulted in the Mangalitsa: the fattiest pig in the world with as much as 70% body fat.
Up until about 1950, the Mangalitsa was the most popular swine in Hungary. But then people discovered that saturated fat is bad for you, so they stopped breeding. By the 1970s, the Mangalitsa was almost extinct with fewer than 200 still in existence.
It made this fluffy guy sad to watch his family disappearing.
But then the Hungarian National Association of Mangalica Pig Breeders was established in 1994 with the purpose of saving the breed. Of course, saving them to basically cook them. Hmm… bittersweet.
More than 60,000 of these pigs are bred each year today, far from extinction but still quite rare.
I, for one, have much more interest in hugging a Mangalitsa pig than eating it. But that’s just me.
The Mangalitsa is the only remaining pig in the world with a hairy sheep-like fleece. If you’ve ever watched Iron Chef, in 2012, an entire Mangalitsa pig was actually the secret ingredient in one of the episodes.
I’m not a vegetarian, but I draw the line at eating huggable, fluffy pigs. Share this rare breed with others below.