In just a few minutes Élizabeth Meideros and Raphael Raby, the owners of Domaine Mangalica, succeed in conveying their passion and, above all, their desire to promote the Mangalica pig, the star animal of their 155-acre farm located in Plaisance.
Supported by their three children, this couple owns one of the few Mangalica pig farms in the province. The Mangalica is somewhat the unknown cousin of the pink pig that usually takes up all the space on Quebecers’ plates. Yet, this hairy pig from Hungary has everything to please the most discerning gourmet.
Raphael tells us that the Mangalica’s main characteristic is its … fat. This pig, which has a strong resemblance to sheep with its rustic and hairy side, produces a thick layer of fat under its coat. It’s this fat that gives it its unique flavour, a flavour that will thrill gourmets who know how to prepare it perfectly with a smoker, a dehydrator or simply on the barbecue.
“The Spanish scream about it at the top of their lungs; this pig yields the best ham in the world,” he says at the outset, as a way of explaining the high quality of the meat. “It has the same colour as beef, but the taste is situated somewhere between that of traditional pork and wild boar. It’s a meat that is considered as being high-end and you must cook it slowly to get that powerful, full-character taste.”
You must be patient in order to reap the benefits of raising this Hungarian pig. While it usually takes six months to raise the pink pig, it takes almost two years for a Mangalica. Raising this pig requires time and space. As a matter of fact, starting from birth, it takes at least 24 months to raise a hairy pig in the open air.
Despite all the constraints involved in raising this pig, this couple is far from regretting their choice. The positive comments from people who taste their high-quality meat quickly make them forget the many hours spent feeding and caring for their herd of about 50 animals.
“We bought our piece of land in 2014,”says Raphael. “After watching a “Semaine Verte” program, we literally fell in love with these sheep pigs, which convinced us to contact the designated breeder in Alberta. After only a week in Western Canada learning all about this type of pig, we chose our couple with which to begin the genetic line and returned to Quebec.”
It’s hard not to smile when Raphael tells us about when he went to the Dorval airport to welcome the couple of Mangalica pigs. These are the animals that are at the origin of this agri-food business that has been the Raby family’s passion for the past seven years.
Development of the Business
The couple has an important project in mind to ensure the development of their business. They would like to build a kitchen, a butcher shop and a kiosk directly on their huge piece of land. This new infrastructure would allow them to carry out the various stages of production within their business, all except for the slaughter of the animals. The SADC de Papineau-Collines team is supporting them in making this important project a reality.
A Visit to the Farm
To share their passion for Mangalica, the whole family has been organizing farm visits for the past several months. For Raphael, this activity allows them to introduce visitors to this little-known animal. Visitors can see that the Raby family take good care of its animals, an important aspect of marketing a high-end product.
The company’s meat is available at Brasse-Camarade, at Marché Perrier and the Boulangerie grain de vie in Saint-André-Avellin. Both Zouk and Napoleon, two Montebello restaurants, offer Mangalica products on their respective menus. And finally, all products can be purchased on the company’s website at domainemangalica.ca
452, chemin des Cascades, Plaisance