Switzerland preserved a rare and exceptional porcine race, an animal descending directly from the primitive race, which originated the Mediterranean black pigs : the Woolly Pig Swallow, or Swallow Mangalica.
At the XIXe century, the woolly pigs were widespread in all the alpine arc. This pig originated in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. The race resulted from the crossing of the primitive race Serb Sumadia, at the origin of the Mediterranean pigs such as the famous Iberian pig (Pata Negra), and of the typical semi-wild races of Carpates: Szalontal and Bakonyl.
In many regions across Europe, black pigs traditionally bred in the open air, grazing in the summer in the mountains and, during autumn, devouring acorns and sweet chestnuts in the forest. The intensive breeding with its requirements of profitability and productivity led it to its quasi disappearance.
At birth, the woolly piglet swallow is striped, thus revealing its close relationship with wild boar. While growing it is characterized by its thick and hard coat, slightly undulated, gray yellow on the belly with brown black on the back.
Its pigmentation of skin and its claws are black, that is why the term "Pata Negra" is used.
Smaller than the modern pig, it presents a rather short and full body, legs of intermediate size, a robust framework, a good musculature and a slow growth. Its rusticity and its resistance to cold allow breeding under simple conditions and make it perfect for extensive fattening on grazing ground in the open air.
We distinguish four varieties from woolly pigs according to their color: the white one which constitutes 80% of the current population, the russet-red one, the black one which is considered extinct and the swallow one that one finds in Switzerland.
The excellent quality of the meat and the bacon of the woolly pig, make it a true delicacy. Its metabolism still close to that of the wild animals allows it at the moment when nature is most generous to store in its muscular mass a significant amount of lipids. This is the reason why it offers a rare ideal for the slow development of exclusive food products, whose mixture of aromas and savours is a pure treat.