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Its near extinction and recovery - Mangalica

Its near extinction and recovery

With the arrival of the 1990s, there were only about 160 Mangalica specimens in Hungary.

The number of breeding females of Mangalica decreased to about 30, so their extinction was only a matter of time. At the last moment, demand from the Spanish market radically changed its course.

In the spring of 1991, in his search to find fatty pigs for the production of cured ham of long maturation, the Spanish businessman Juan Vicente Olmos came across this variety: the Hungarian pig, very fatty, with some surprising similarities to the Iberian pig such as its black foot. He contacted the agricultural engineer Péter Tóth to make a selection and obtain high quality hams. It was his interest and determination that led him to investigate and get this breed of pig back to having a yield that ensured its sustainability.

Since that year, the survival of the race was not only assured, but also its reproduction gradually expanded. The hard work of the following 10 years paid off. The number of breeding animals of the Mangalica breed in 2010 already exceeded 7,000, and the sales of Olmos és Tóth Kft. (15,000 units of Mangalica ham) established it as one of the notable gourmet products. In 2006, several specimens were exported to Great Britain and since then they have been registered in the BPA Mangalitza Herd Book. In the following year (2007), some specimens were exported to the USA.

Both the cured ham and the fresh meat of the Mangalica pig have become Hungarian delicatessen products, whose success could not have been imagined without the work and dedication of Olmos és Tóth Kft. Today, some 60,000 pigs of this breed are raised in Hungary. ​Their hams can be found in the most exclusive gourmet stores. And their breeding has spread to other countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In 2004, the Mangalica breed was declared a National Gastronomic Heritage by the Hungarian Parliament.

The number of breeding animals of the Mangalica breed in 2010 already exceeded 7,000, and the sales of Olmos és Tóth Kft. 15,000 units of Mangalica ham.

Currently, after more than 25 years of intense work, there is an average set of about 25,000 heads in Hungary, animals that are slaughtered in their native country and whose hams, loins and parts that can be cured are brought to Spain, and after drying and processing, sold or exported.

Therefore, the Mangalica is out of danger of extinction, and Monte Nevado maintains its operation in Hungary, as the gene bank with copies of the three varieties that were saved: Blond, Red and Swallow-bellied (black and white).

The Spanish company Monte Nevado has become the international ambassador for the highest quality products of Mangalica: cured hams and shoulders, loin, and since 2018 gourmet fresh meat, highly appreciated in haute cuisine both in Europe and in the major Asian countries.

As a result of this extraordinary work, the Hungarian state, through the mediation of its president János Áder, decorated the general director of Monte Nevado, Juan Vicente Olmos, in 2016 with the Cross of the Hungarian Order of Honor for recovering this native race.