The Gift Guide
November 28, 2010
Starting today I’m going to post a new gift suggestion every day until Christmas. These are all products I’ve tried and loved, all gifts that I’d like to receive myself. (And although I shouldn’t have to say this, I should add that nobody’s paying for product placement.)
There’s a certain irony in this, because when I was at Gourmet I did a terrible job of showcasing stuff to buy. This was partly because there was always so much pressure from the publishers to showcase the advertisers’ products. If you’re wondering why there are always watches on the cooks, there’s your answer. But it was also because I could never figure out a really interesting way to offer shopping suggestions. But now that I’m no longer at the magazine, when people ask me for gift suggestions, it all seems very straightforward. So here it is, a list of gifts that I think your friends will appreciate.
I’m starting with Mangalitsa pork, because I cooked some the other day, and I was truly startled by the sheer deliciousness of these beautiful wooly pigs.
I love baking with Mangalitsa lard, which is pure white, soft and has a fine sweet flavor that is not quite like anything I’ve tasted before. When you’re making pie dough it rolls out like a dream, and bakes up into a wonderfully flaky crust that lacks the mean piggy flavor of so much lard.
But the last time I ordered the lard from De Bragga and Spitler (debragga.com), I decided to order some meat as well. Let me just say that it is, hands down, the most delicious pork I have ever tasted. It is so sweet, succulent and seductively flavorful that the only seasoning it needs is some salt and pepper (and maybe a few cloves of garlic). Trust me: if you send this to a friend, he will love you forever.
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I concur on the mangalitsa pig suggestion. One of those gifts that people would not be expecting! And extremely fatty and delicious. If anyone wants to know more about a small farm in NJ that raises them, I did a little sustainable food video doc about Mosefund Farm here on my food. curated. video site. http://www.foodcurated.com
Hope people support more artisan heritage breed pork.
Great video, Skeeter. What incredibly lovable pigs!
Link here: http://foodcurated.com/2010/11/the-kobe-beef-of-pork-mosefund-farms-mangalitsa-pigs/
All of the pork products look fantastic. For a gift, would you most recommend the pork tenderloin? I am thinking of surprising a friend of mine with some Mangalitsa pork for a gift.
The tenderloin isn’t my favorite cut, but it’s a great introduction to Mangalitsa for three reasons:
1. It’s the most affordable
2. It’s the easiest – and fastest – to cook
3. Most pork tenderloins are so dry and dull that the superb flavor and texture of the Mangalitsa really jumps out at you. Once you’ve tasted the tenderloin, you definitely want to move on to the fattier, more seductive loins and shoulders.
Thank you, Ruth, for the helpful advice. I am thrilled you are doing this gift guide; I’m getting all sorts of wonderful holiday gift ideas.
I recently goat a sampler pack of Mangalitsa ham from Johnston County Hams.
It was delicious and affordable too. Here is a link for those who are interested:
An Old Breed of Hungarian Pig Is Back in Favor