Often the Nebrodi woods (50 thousand hectares of beech and oak trees, mostly inside a natural park) are fenced in by very high nets, and it is enough to approach them when a small herd of pigs is roosting nearby, to understand the reason. In fact, these animals – much more similar to wild boars in their features and habits – have nothing tame or domestic about them.
Small in size and with a dark coat (a characteristic of the autochthonous Italian pig breeds), the Neri dei Nebrodi pigs are reared in a semi-wild and wild state in large areas used for grazing: only in conjunction with the births is food supplementation used.
Frugal and resistant, this breed in the last years has seen a considerable reduction in the number of the heads (at present we can presumably estimate the presence of about 2000 animals). Breeders have very small farms and, in most cases, they are also processors. Their products, however, rarely reach the market: destined for family consumption or the object of small local exchanges.
All norcine specialties of Sicily are concentrated in this north-eastern area of the island: fellata salami, Nebrodi sausage, salami, capocolli and bacon.
At one time they were all produced with black swine, today the situation is more confused: many pork butchers, in fact, are forced to buy hybrid swine from industrial farms.
However, all the comparative tastings prove that products made with meat from black pigs raised in the wild have a much higher aromatic intensity and are more suited to long aging. Of course black pig meat – in its various cuts – can also be eaten fresh.