In addition to my quest for great Hungarian wines, I’m always on the look out for great Hungarian wine bars. There was one wine bar I had researched but hadn’t visited yet, so I decided it was time. My colleague Emese was game, so one Thursday after work, we found ourselves at Andante Borpatika.
The menu had an English section, which was helpful. Plus, Emese is Hungarian, so the ordering went smoothly.
At one point, we decided we also wanted food. Emese asked if they could do a combined cheese and meat platter. I’m sad I didn’t take a picture of it, because when it arrived, it was an artistic delight.
One of the sausages paired particularly well with the (third) glass of wine we were enjoying. Emese explained that it was Mangalica sausage from curly haired pigs. I believe my response was something sophisticated like “Whaaaaat?”
After the tasty evening, I researched these pigs. Sure enough, they are hairy!
Mangalica were originally only found in and around Hungary and went out of vogue for many reasons, such as they take longer to grow. To get the marbled fat that makes the meat so tasty, the pigs have to live for over a year, compared to only five months for other pigs. There are some other challenges, but with the current artisanal food movement, curly haired pigs are back! In addition to Hungary, the pigs are now bred in other countries, including the United States (with a slightly different spelling: Mangalitsa).
And since Budapest seems to have a festival for everything (not complaining—I love it!), there’s even a Mangalica festival in February 2014. Maybe I’ll see you there!