East Balkan Swine

Bulgaria

Sliven

Breeds and animal husbandry

Back to the archive >
East Balkan Swine

The East Balkan Swine is the last remaining native pig breed in Bulgaria, still raised in few areas on the Strandzha mountains and on the east slopes of the Stara Planina mountains (East Balkans).
It is a very old breed, believed to have appeared in Bulgaria 2500 years ago with the Greek invasion of Megara on the Ionian Sea. Genetically, it is close to the Mediterranean turf pig, which descends from the wild Sus scrofa scrofa. After its transfer to the west coast of the Black Sea, it was crossed with the Thracian floppy-eared pig.

It is distinguished by the black color of its coat, which covers the whole body apart from the stomach, and the gray-brown skin, which is thick and covered with sharp bristles that form a sort of comb between the neck and the waist. The typical specimen is of medium-size, stocky with a short neck with arched, sloping back. The head and face are elongated, with small ears and short, muscular limbs.

Its typical habitat is the deciduous forest terrains and uncultivated agricultural areas. The pigs live in wide open spaces, supervised by herdsmen. They have a predominantly gregarious way of life, between 60 and 300 heads per herd, which each have a pack leader. The main food of East Balkan Swine is several types of acorns, roots, mushrooms (sometimes also truffles), berries, herbs, snails, and worms. Farmers keep their pigs during the night in simple wooden buildings (shelters) and during the day the pigs are herded outside in open pastures.

These animals are quite mobile (they can travel up to 30 km a day), especially while securing their food. This also gives their meat a distinctive taste and a marble-like texture, rich in intramuscular fats. Its colour is very specific, of notably darker, tile nuance, while the fat is grainy and it takes a pale yellowish nuance.
At the local level, the fresh meat of animals slaughtered between 12 and 24 months is highly sought after. The meat of the adult animals over 2 years of age is hard, well structured and perfect for some local meat delicacies, such as the Smyadovska Lukanka – a flat dry cured sausage made from mixed pork and buffalo meat which is today nearly impossible to find on the market in its original recipe.

The East Balkan Swine was once widespread especially in Smyadovo area, where a black pig still appears on the city’s coat of arm. Unfortunately, the number of East Balkan pigs in the area has progressively shrunk since the 50s due to the promotion of more productive breeds by the communist regime – that encouraged farmers to grow higher yielding international breeds, then because of constant rural-to-urban migration and transformation of traditional farms into industrial pig productions. Small-scale farmers still free-range herding their flogs of East Balkan pig face barriers both economic and bureaucratic, such as the stringent hygiene rules imposed on the farmers.

  • Hai imparato qualcosa di nuovo da questa pagina?
    Did you learn something new from this page?

  • YesNo
Back to the archive >
The breed is officially classified as being at risk of extinction: in Bulgaria there were less than 1500 sows and 72 boars divided across 20 farms at the beginning of 2017. The Presidium will work along with three breeders and their families, though it aims at including all 16 households that are still breeding the east Balkan swine in purity and free-range. The Presidium will work to protect the purity of the East Balkan swine breed, as well as its free-range breeding technique. In addition, Slow Food and Slow Food in Bulgaria will work alongside producers to promote its meat on the national and international markets, as well as to revive the production of artisan processed products such as the smyadovo sausage or local blood sausages, while respecting hygiene rules and regulations, hence ensuring the breeders new market opportunities and enabling the community to manage this unique breed sustainably.

Production area
Shumen and Varna provinces, Eastern Bulgaria

The Presidium is built in partnership with the Municipality of Smyadovo.


Kulyo Donev Kulev
Address: Veselinovo Village, Smyadovo Municipality, Shumen District, Bulgaria
kulev@kulevfarm.com
tel: +359888725286

Yavor Borislavov Borisov
Address: Veselinovo Village, Smyadovo Municipality, Shumen District, Bulgaria
iavorborisov@abv.bg
tel: +359898866671

Stanka Ivanova Georgieva
Address: Byal Bryag Village, Smyadovo Municipality, Shumen District, Bulgaria
tel: +3598888531854
Coordinator
Radostina Doneva
E-mail: doneva_r@abv.bg
Tel: +359899118780
The breed is officially classified as being at risk of extinction: in Bulgaria there were less than 1500 sows and 72 boars divided across 20 farms at the beginning of 2017. The Presidium will work along with three breeders and their families, though it aims at including all 16 households that are still breeding the east Balkan swine in purity and free-range. The Presidium will work to protect the purity of the East Balkan swine breed, as well as its free-range breeding technique. In addition, Slow Food and Slow Food in Bulgaria will work alongside producers to promote its meat on the national and international markets, as well as to revive the production of artisan processed products such as the smyadovo sausage or local blood sausages, while respecting hygiene rules and regulations, hence ensuring the breeders new market opportunities and enabling the community to manage this unique breed sustainably.

Production area
Shumen and Varna provinces, Eastern Bulgaria

The Presidium is built in partnership with the Municipality of Smyadovo.


Kulyo Donev Kulev
Address: Veselinovo Village, Smyadovo Municipality, Shumen District, Bulgaria
kulev@kulevfarm.com
tel: +359888725286

Yavor Borislavov Borisov
Address: Veselinovo Village, Smyadovo Municipality, Shumen District, Bulgaria
iavorborisov@abv.bg
tel: +359898866671

Stanka Ivanova Georgieva
Address: Byal Bryag Village, Smyadovo Municipality, Shumen District, Bulgaria
tel: +3598888531854
Coordinator
Radostina Doneva
E-mail: doneva_r@abv.bg
Tel: +359899118780

Territory

StateBulgaria
RegionSliven

Other info

CategoriesBreeds and animal husbandry