That’s some pig.
What exactly it is, however, we won’t know until we sit down at the table for the Sunday, March 3 supper at Zazu in Santa Rosa, when chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart introduce a brand new breed of swine called a Black Wattle Mulefoot.
The chef owners of Zazu and Black Pig Bacon Company have long raised rare porkers like the Mulefoot and the Red Wattle, and when curiosity struck early last year, Estes and Stewart decided to cross the two.
The outcome was eight piglets of what the chefs believe is entirely new breed. Thus, at the dinner, it will be what Estes says “may be the world’s first opportunity to compare three heritage breeds side-by-side on the same plate.”
The endangered red wattle is named for its red skin and two small appendages dangling below its cheeks, while the Mulefoot is also endangered and on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s critical list because its global population numbers fewer than 1,000 animals. But ranchers (and cooks) are working to improve the numbers and reintroduce the particularly tasty meat to the dinner table.
All three pig breeds have been raised at Walnut Keep Farm in Suisun Valley, and fed the same diet, so they can truly be evaluated side by side when moved from farm to fork.
The Black Wattle Mulefoot are distinctive looking, black with cheek appendages, but what will they taste like? Everyone, including Estes and Stewart, will have to wait for the 6 p.m. dinner to find out.
The five course, $93 wine-paired meal offers dishes such as ham and biscuit sliders spread in Guinness mustard; three bellies "under a brick" with hoisin glaze, pickled mustard greens, mushrooms and star anise sticky rice; three shoulders "roasted in hay" with gigante beans, duck fat bread crumbs and green peppercorn salsa verde; and three loins "with sticks" of backyard rosemary roasted spuds and fig anchoiade.
Dessert is chicharron peanut butter cups, bacon caramel popcorn and “porkeos” cookies.
Naturally, reservations are a must.
Details: Zazu, 3535 Guerneville Rd., Santa Rosa, 707-523-4814, zazurestaurant.com.
Tip: Don’t hog the road. Make reservations with a group of friends, and carpool to the dinner in a private, chauffeured Pure Luxury Town Car or limo.