Mangalitsa pigs are a rare heritage breed of swine that is renowned for their tasty, marbled red meat and their large amount of fat. The name Mangalitsa literally means "hog with a lot of lard." They are also known as wooly pigs because of the curly haired fleece that covers their body.
The pig was originally developed for the rulers of the Austro - Hungarian Empire some 200 years ago. They dominated the European lard market until World War II. The introduction of cooking oil and modern meat production largely pushed the Mangalitsa out of the market. The Hungarian government maintained some hog farms, but those collapsed after the fall of the communist government leaving an estimated 200 Mangalitsa's alive in 1991. The breed's population is slowly increasing and today Hungary is home to more than 16,500 sows that produce some 70,000 pigs for market each year. In 2007 a company called Wooly Pigs, based in Washington State imported a herd from Austria and began breeding the hogs. Today their numbers are still small in the United States numbering only 500 to 1000 animals.
When fed correctly and allowed to mature at a natural rate the Mangalitsa produces a meat that has a stronger flavor and more than double the marbling of average pork. The fat is not heavy and greasy so it tastes much lighter and cleaner. Perfect for cooking, baking and even body balm or soap.