Twas a time, in the earlier decades of the 20th century, when most farms had a few hogs waddling about, to be slaughtered for bacon and lard and other household needs. Each breed had its distinct flavors, and the meat varied wildly in terms of quality and taste—there was sweet Berkshire, gamey Ossabaw, juicy Duroc. The thing was, pork did not have, nor was it expected to have, a uniform taste, the way most supermarket piggy meat does today.
Today these breeds are referred to collectively as “heritage pigs.” Some people think that all meat from heritage breeds is superior stuff, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The term basically just means any hog breed that’s been around for a while. Some of them, like Hampshires, are still easy to find almost any where there are pig eaters. Others, like the American mulefoot (which, thanks to its high fat content, produces delicious ham), are pretty severely endangered.
On Sunday, May 23 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, the ten-city Cochon 555 tour stops in Seattle. In each city, five chefs are each gived a 140-pound heritage hog with which to prepare a number of dishes. Guests sample the porcine goods alongside vinos from five local wineries. As is customary at such events, there will be judges who decide which chef prepared the best pig feast, but it’s mostly about eating, drinking, and realizing how diverse hog meat really is.
Wineries pouring are: McCrea Cellars, Long Shadows, Buty, Fidelitas, and Elk Cove Vineyards.
Cochon 555 begins at 5pm and ends at 8. Tickets are $125 general admission; $175 VIP. Buy them here.