Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

When Miss Piggy goes ‘walkabout’

In the old days, before pig were raised closely packed in sties, farmers occasionaly used to herd their animals into the woods. There they could forage for nuts, leaves, moss, mushrooms, truffles, etc. Sometimes the pigs would run into a wild boar. When the farmer wasn’t paying attention, there would be some ‘hanky-panky’ between the pretty pink pig and the fierce boar.

The result: a litter of two-toned piglets, some with a pink torso and a striped bottom, others with a pink bottom and striped upper body. But the combination of a pig and a boar proved to be more than just cute … the meat of these ‘sanglochons’ (sanglier (boar) + cochon (pig)) turned out to be particularly tender and tasteful.

The habit of walking pigs in the forest no longer exists. However, some 20 years ago a farmer in the village of Verlaine reintroduced the tradition in a more ‘controlled’ environment. He put a sow and a wild boar together and … the ‘sanglochon’ was reborn!

Noix de jambon (smoked lean shoulder ham).

He sold the meat fresh and smoked. He also used it to make the famous ‘saucisson’ and ‘colier’ d’Ardennes. Instead of only selling it through local butchers he renovated an old farmhouse and turned it into a tavern. The ‘fumoir’, where the hams and sausages are cured, is a small museum explaining the different steps of the production process. In the three adjoining rooms, there is a little shop and a tavern.

ere you can taste some traditional dishes prepared with ‘sanglochons’ products.

In the meantime the Ferme has changed hands, but the new landlord still respects the old traditions and the food is still fabulous.

I warmly recommend the ‘fricassée Ardennaise’. In the UK you would call it eggs and bacon … except that here the pork is from a ‘sanglochon’.

Sorry, it looked so tasteful and smelled so good that I forgot to take a picture before starting to eat it.

Or why not try the ‘Jambon fermier poelé’ with sautéed potatoes and a green salad.

When we were in the Loire Valley last June we offered some sanglochon bacon to blogger friends Ken and Walt who live near Saint-Aignan. Ken used it to flavour one of his favourite dishes: collard greens. He shred the cooked meat and mixed it with the greens. It’s another perfect way to get the most out this unique product. Bon appétit!

You’ll find the ‘Ferme des Sanglochons’ near Exit 26 (Verlaine – Libramont) on the E411 motorway Brussels – Luxemburg.

Ferme des Sanglochons - Chaussée de Namur 42 - 6840 VERLAINE


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