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Food

The Special Nutritional Value of the Black Pig

November 13, 2019
ANA

THESSALONIKI- According to local legend, the black pigs bred in the mountains of Macedonia’s Chalkidiki peninsula have an illustrious history, stretching all the way back to Alexander the Great. “Stories say that Alexander the Great took them with him on his campaign, and used them to feed his armies,” said local breeder Yiannis Tsoukalas, while also underlining the breed’s exceptional nutritional value.

Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio “Praktoreio” on Tuesday, 70-year-old Tsoukalas said that he had worked his own black pig farm, which goes back to his grandfather’s day, throughout his life but only recently learned of the meat’s special properties.

“We have had it here for years but we did not realise the significance, the nutritional value of the meat of the specific breed. We knew only we had a very tasty meat. Until we were told by scientists that the specific breed of pig, which was at risk of disappearing, has these special traits, such as omega3 and other fats that are very beneficial for humans,” explained Tsoukalas.

The specific breed is free range with special dietary traits and this makes the mass production of meat difficult, he noted.

Describing the environment where the black pigs live, he said the village where his farm is located, Varvara, was “at an altitude of 600 m, and it’s here that the animals graze and eat whatever they find in the woods, what nature offers – such as the oak or beech. It takes an animal a year to reach 50 kilos in weight, as opposed to the conventional breeds that get to 60-70 kilos in five months.”

All the above constraints, added Tsoukalas, were the reason why there was only a small number of certified breeders at present. He also warned that consumers must not confuse black pigs with other types of livestock and game. “The well-known wild boar is often bred in a similar way but has nothing in common with the black pig,” Tsoukalas concluded.

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