Cesare Casella has always been a hands-on kind of guy. The Maremma chef, a leading light of Tuscan cookery in America, imports his own beans and makes his own sausages. It only follows, then, that sooner or later he’d invent his own pig. Casella is breeding the Large Black, the tastiest breed of swine we’ve ever eaten, with a Yorkshire-Duroc crossbreed, the most durable and healthy. Their offspring are being mated with Large Blacks, creating a pig that grows fast, lives long, causes little trouble, and tastes better than you can imagine — or at least, that’s the idea. The pigs will appear first at Maremma — after the current generation, which is still young, begins producing offspring at the end of this year or in early ‘07 — and later at other restaurants around town.
Lots of chefs create new pork dishes, but how many create new pigs? (It’s almost like Pygmalion. Except Higgins never ate Eliza.)