Euskal Txerria Pig

Spain

Pais Vasco

Breeds and animal husbandry

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Euskal Txerria Pig

Until the early 20th century, every farm in the Basque Country would have a small group of pigs, which would then be taken—as lechones, 2 or 3 month old just-weaned piglets—to fairs and sold to merchants from all parts of Spain. One or two animals were kept for fattening and were fed on kitchen and vegetable garden leftovers or food from the woods. It was a similar situation all over Celtic Europe, though the livestock trade flourished much more in the Basque Country. There were even three native pig breeds: the Baztanesa, the Chato Vitoriano—both now extinct—and the Euskal Txerria. The latter was only saved in extremis thanks to the initiative of a French Basque farmer, Pierre Oteitza. By 1997 there was again a reasonable number of sows, but no animals were left in Spain’s Basque Country. Pello Urdapilleta and his family then began to farm this breed in a wild state, helped by Mariano Gómez, a veterinarian interested in local breeds, who was then also involved in preparing traditional local sausages.
Euskal Txerria pigs have short legs, a comical appearance, large hanging ears and black spots on their head and hindquarters. Presidium pigs are raised only using extensive methods and do not exceed 14 animals per hectare: they graze freely on acorns, chestnuts, hazelnuts and grass. They only reach a proper fattening stage in their last two months, by feeding on corn, beans and bran (only non-GM feed is used) until they reach 120 kilograms in weight, when they are slaughtered.
Pello Urdapilleta, the first Presidium producer, transforms their full-flavored meat into a range of cured meat products: chorizo (7 months aging, 70% lean and 30% fat, sweet paprika, salt, garlic and no other additives), lomo (5 months), salchichón eaten fresh (made using pepper from the Rimbas Pepper Presidium) and hams, experimenting with times of aging and the most suitable method for the difficult local climate.

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The Presidium was created to develop and promote traditional cured meats made from Euskal Txerria pigs. In 2005, Pello Urdapilleta’s efforts were rewarded with internatio- nal recognition when he received the Culatello d’Oro prize from the Zibello Culatello Consortium. The project is keen to encourage other local farmers and artisans to follow Pello’s example and results are already being achieved, with the first local young farmers recently joining in this venture. Thanks to Pello’s impressive efforts and Slow Food’s support, dishes based on Euskal Txerria are beginning to appear on menus in local restaurants and some well-known Basque restaurants. The Presidium will offer these cured meats to other restaurants and shops in the Basque Country, who are also trying to extend commercialization beyond the regional borders. Pello’s model farm is regularly visited by children and students interested to discover a food that was a staple in Basque diet for many centuries.

Production area
Bidegoian, Guipúzcoa province, Basque Country
Lorenzo and Pello Urdapilleta
tel. +34 943681006/605701204
info@urdapilleta.eu
Presidium Coordinator
Visitación Irizar Alzugaray
tel. +34 943431540
visi@escuelairizar.com
The Presidium was created to develop and promote traditional cured meats made from Euskal Txerria pigs. In 2005, Pello Urdapilleta’s efforts were rewarded with internatio- nal recognition when he received the Culatello d’Oro prize from the Zibello Culatello Consortium. The project is keen to encourage other local farmers and artisans to follow Pello’s example and results are already being achieved, with the first local young farmers recently joining in this venture. Thanks to Pello’s impressive efforts and Slow Food’s support, dishes based on Euskal Txerria are beginning to appear on menus in local restaurants and some well-known Basque restaurants. The Presidium will offer these cured meats to other restaurants and shops in the Basque Country, who are also trying to extend commercialization beyond the regional borders. Pello’s model farm is regularly visited by children and students interested to discover a food that was a staple in Basque diet for many centuries.

Production area
Bidegoian, Guipúzcoa province, Basque Country
Lorenzo and Pello Urdapilleta
tel. +34 943681006/605701204
info@urdapilleta.eu
Presidium Coordinator
Visitación Irizar Alzugaray
tel. +34 943431540
visi@escuelairizar.com

Territory

StateSpain
RegionPais Vasco

Other info

CategoriesBreeds and animal husbandry