*Warning! Some parts of this blog are quite graphic and may scare the little ones… or vegetarians.
The New Year is upon us so it is time to kill some pigs. A time honoured tradition (and now an illegal one too) this is actually an important part of Ibiza culture. The pig is fattened up over the summer and then killed in the autumn or winter, such is the custom in many countries dating way back to the days when salting and curing were the only ways to preserve meats.
In cooler climates outside Ibiza, the pig is traditionally turned into all sorts of different deliciousnesses – terrines, hams, confits, bacon and sausages. But in Ibiza due to the warmth, the opportunity to make hams etc is not open to them. Everything that is not used in the celebratory meal, arroz de matanzas (slaughterhouse rice), goes into three things – salted back fat, black pudding and sobresada.
Sobresada is that sausage you see everywhere on the island; a thick orange curved length tied with string at both ends. The rather suggestive object is ground pig meat, salted and heavily spiced with pimenton, stuffed back into its intestines and hung to cure for a couple of weeks before it is consumed.
This does not sound madly appealing I know, but spread on some heavy country bread toast and washed down with strong red wine – vi negre – it is actually lovely (I was going to say delightful, but that would be going too far.)
You find sobresada and toast on sale at stalls in all the village fiestas and manifold celebratory goings on around the island. If you haven’t tried it before I urge you to do so.
The pig killing itself is quite an unpleasant day out and whilst I am not into the authorities f**king around with peoples traditions, I do think the slaughter could be handled in a more humane way. A hook on the end of a long pole is shoved through the pigs nose and it is pulled from its sty. The pig is screaming and struggling, desperately trying to back away. It is some how hauled onto the killing table and strapped down before the knife is, by then mercifully, inserted into its neck. All this takes place just out of view but very much in earshot of its sibling. The sibling that has spent every day of its life with its now dead sister.
They say pigs are intelligent and I believe that. Can’t be too nice for either of them.