Black pigs are an ancient and well documented occurrence in Italy dating back at least 2000 years. Considered to have been brought back to Italy by the Romans from there conquests in Asia, the black pig became a common sight in oak woodlands and mainstay animal of the average family who reared them for personal use.
It is not therefore surprising that the black pig is not only known for its part in folklore but is also the ancestor of all Italian pig breeds, whether black, spotted or stripped.
Over the years distinct and separate bloodlines have been established with these differing physical traits but even of the few pure black pig breeds remaining each has been identified to have diverse and unique DNA with the Nero D'Abruzzo having been recognised through DNA testing as a unique and autochthonous breed separate from the breeds of Calabria and Sardinia.
Sadly as with so many of our traditional foods and ways of life across Europe, the Nero D'Abruzzo was nearly lost to us all due to the changing trends in the 60s and 70s.
During this time both industrial breeding techniques became the basis for farming and government propaganda brainwashed the public into believing that fat was the dietary pariah for all health issues meaning people moved to the flavourless, hybrid 'white' pigs commonly used today.
Compounding this decline in the use of this classic, adapted and rustic breed was the growing commercialism which sought lost sight of quality and flavour in the endless search for faster - cheaper - more.
A commercialistic goal that while achieved to a greater extent, also achieved products with less flavour, higher cholesterol, higher carbon footprint and standard treatment for the pigs that are reared in this intensive industry that any ethical human being would struggle to accept.
However, thanks to the efforts of a few individuals who continued the traditional, ethical and ecologically focused way of life and who continued to breed these amazing pigs the Nero D'Abruzzo, the breed has evaded the expectation of becoming extinct.
Thanks to these people we have been able to embrace and further this lost way of breeding and rearing this ancient breed of pig and share with you the value for not only its flavour but also the health qualities of its meat, appreciated by foodies across Italy and beyond.