Best Food Gift: Mangalica Ham

Looking for something mind-blowing for the serious food aficionado in your life? This is for the one who has tried it all … because nothing can come close to this Mangalica Ham.

Dry-cured in Spain for three years, it’s a rare combination of perfect breeding and masterful preparation. Mangalica is the ham of all hams, with unparalleled texture and deep flavor.

mangalica-ham-on-stand-dartagnan-logoMangalitsa, or Mangalica, is an old-breed pig indigenous to the Hungarian Steppe where its thick, curly coat of hair protects it from the elements.

It was once the pig most likely to succeed, but then large-scale farming came into vogue. If not for a miracle, this little piggy would have gone extinct. A group of farmers dedicated themselves to preserving the breed, and built up the remaining stock.

mangalica-pig

We’re all a part of that miracle. It seems contradictory, but we must eat breeds to save them. No one will raise an old breed without a good reason. In this case, the reason is the best ham you will ever eat.

Curing the Ham

Our fourth-generation maestro jamoneros (literally “ham masters”) in Spain know good pork, and they established a partnership with the Mangalica hog farmers. Because of its intense marbling, the leg of a Mangalica hog can age far longer than the average pig, allowing a deep flavor to develop without losing moisture.

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Ham curing room in the mountains of Spain.

It’s a combination made in heaven; the distinctive dark meat and abundant marbling ensure that every morsel is tender and flavorful. If you like Serrano ham, then Mangalica is the next level.

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Mangalica ham after being carved to the bone. Note the marbling.

Carving the Ham

Purchase the Mangalica Ham with the carving stand – it’s the best way to achieve perfectly thin slices, which is the goal.

Cured ham is best served at room temperature. A bone-in ham will continue to cure, even after you carve it. Store it in a cool, dry place, loosely covered with a cloth and allow it to breathe. In Spain cured ham is often left in the stand on a sideboard, so people can just slice off a piece or two for a snack as they pass by.

mangalica-ham-being-sliced

Watch our video with a master carver  – a cortador – and learn how to carve this magnificent ham.

Share your Mangalica Ham experiences with us here, or on social media. Tag @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We love hearing from you!

 

 

 

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