Black Casertano Pig

Ark of taste
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For at least 2000 years, a slate gray pig has been bred in the countryside of the region of Caserta. This is evident from several examples provided by Romans historians, such as paintings found at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Baldassarre, an esteemed professor of animal breeds, spoke in 1899 of a massive presence in the region of Naples and the then Terra di Lavoro of around 450,000 Casertana sows. Unfortunately, in the 1960s there was an uncontrolled importation of white pigs from central and northern Europe to Italy. These pigs, which grew more quickly on a diet that was more economical and required less labor, nearly marked the end of the Casertana breed. During the period from the 1970s and 80s until the present day, just a few individuals remained for reproduction and family use, guarded jealously by a handful of farmers in the municipalities of Teano and Beneventano. The current standard describes the Black Casertano as a hardy pig breed of medium size, with a fine skeleton and skin color ranging from dark purple to slate gray or lead. The skin is almost devoid of bristles, which are present only in sparse tufts on the neck, head and tail end. This lack of bristles over a dark gray skin gives the breed its name in the local dialect, which is Pelatielli. The head is of medium size with a truncated cone shape, with a straight nose, a long thin snout and ears that are close together and point forward. It has two bumps on the skin called bargigli or tettole. The torso appears flattened around the chest area and slightly convex along the spine. It has sloping hindquarters and slim and short limbs. Pork from this breed is particularly flavorful. The animals fatten well and the fat tends to be well distributed, not just accumulated in one area, making the meat soft and tasty. Pigs raised traditionally in a semi-wild state, where they feed mostly on acorns, chestnuts, hazelnuts and wild fruits, are slaughtered between 16 and 24 months, producing an exceptional quality pork, sought after by gastronomes for its tenderness and wild flavors. It is a true authentic product of Campania, to be enjoyed as sausages, traditionally processed by local producers, or by slow cooking the exquisite meat.Photo: Pro Loco Teano 

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