Porcelet refers to a young milk-fed pig. Known as cochon de lait in French, this type of suckling pig is a highly-regarded delicacy. Hard to find in the United States, the milk-fed pig known as porcelet is only available from D’Artagnan. Many of our chef clients have offered porcelet on their menus for few years, and now it’s being made available to the home cook at dartagnan.com.
Milk Does a Piglet Good
The milk-fed pig is a long-standing tradition on dairy farms. Excess milk, unwanted skim milk and whey are common on such farms, and pigs are more than willing – even eager – to eat it all. This is why you so often see pigs on dairy farms. These natural farming partners also offer a tasty bonus: they turn all that unwanted milk into pork chops and bacon.
Well acquainted with the European tradition of raising piglets on milk, our farmers in Quebec established a very specialized operation, unique in North America, to raise porcelet.
Combining Tradition and Technology
The farm raises Yorkshire breed piglets in spacious barns on nothing but milk. The proprietary, nutritionally-balanced milk formula is designed with animal nutrition scientists, and fortified with vitamins, minerals and a carefully balanced fat content. Think of it as a protein shake that a bodybuilder might drink to develop certain muscles. The formula is delivered at body temperature, and the piglets maintain a natural nursing rhythm.
The entire program is designed to put fat on the piglets in all the right places. This diet allows them to thrive for longer periods of time, growing larger than the average suckling pig, while maintaining tender texture. No antibiotics, hormones, or growth stimulants are ever used, and every care is taken to provide humane conditions for the pigs.
The Best Pork
They call it porcelet (poor-seh-lay), which to us means “the best pork ever.” Because of all the care and the special milk diet, porcelet offers the most succulent pork imaginable, with a unique delicate flavor, and pale intramuscular fat that is creamy and firm. Even the tender suckling pig with 17% moisture content cannot compare to the 30% moisture content of porcelet. And because porcelet grows larger, there is more delicious pork to be enjoyed.
Check for porcelet recipes in our next post.