I have reached my limit on Bacon. Not bacon, but Bacon. The desserts, the coffins, and festivals (where chefs have bacon shipped in and then trendify it) — all of it. The part that it is meant to commemorate, bacon, is all but eliminated and, in its place, gluttony has been substituted. When I see bacon on a menu item, it is simple to distinguish whether it is added to create balance and harmony or to advance and encourage gluttony. Not that gluttony doesn’t have any place at the table, there will always be special meals where indulgences occur, but the pride associated with the excess is what has gotten so deeply under my skin.
I hear your thoughts, “Isn’t this a blog about bacon? Hell, it is in the title.” Well, it is in the title, but it has not been about bacon for some time and as time passes, it will be even less about it. Bacon will still be made and I will still let you know if I uncover a particularly interesting or great slice. In fact, I have had this bacon from an amazing breed of pig for over a month and have been reluctant to post about it for the simple reason that I am sick about hearing about Bacon (capital B) and did not want to add to the detritus.
Møsefund Farms breeds a specific type of pig, the Mangalitsa, that is famous for their wooly hair and luscious marbling of fat that comes from their lineage from wild boars and lard pigs that are genetically connected to the famous pata negra. According the their website, “the Mangalitsa at Møsefund are free range, raised outside all year, with access to fresh water, feed and run-in shelters. They graze on chicory, clover, and varieties of local nuts, and finished on a barley mixture for a minimum of 60 days. This diet gives their fat an amazing quality and consistency — high in monsatuarated fat, but low in polyunsaturated fat.” The care that goes into raising these hogs is shown very well in a video located here.
Just looking at the packages, it is clear that eating more than a slice here or there would clearly venture into gluttonous territory and that if I let out screams of joy like I heard upon entering Baconfest 2011, I would be both hypocritical and hypertensive, so I cooked up just a slice for me and for a fellow taster.
The bacon is made to showcase the Mangalitsa. This is not Benton’s where the smoke and salt create something altogether different from anything else that I have tasted, but rather, the smoke and salt simply provide elevation to the spectacular pork. The fattiness is visually arresting, and two slices offload a quarter cup of mangalitsa fat into the pan, but it really comes into play with the amazing texture. The pork flavor was equally strong. I would bet that this pork, while delicious as bacon, would really set itself apart in the long curing arena where it would be safe from dessert, coffins, and other silly trends that shift the focus from deliciousness to something unrelated to flavor.