The National Restaurant Association’s 2020 FABI Award winners were recently announced and there was one recipient in particular with a decidedly Spanish flavor: Wagshal’s Ibérico cochinillo (suckling pig). The panel of judges chose the winning products for their ability to “dazzle taste buds with their original flavor profiles, offer game-changing alternative protein sources and prove that delicious can be convenient.”
Ibérico pigs are among the most prestigious breeds in the world and Washgal’s suckling pigs are extremely tender and delicious. In recent years, demand for this product has increased, and especially in the current climate, “We have found that many home chefs are embracing the idea of making world-class meals at home… [and] consumers are beginning to seek out the finest quality products,” according to Fabian Jarrin, the company’s Operations Manager.
“Consumers are very knowledgeable,” he says, “Even though the cured meat is the most famous, the most seasoned consumers branch out and create almost a cult following for the best meat bar none.”
People are willing to pay a premium price for this gourmet product, as it’s “the highest quality pork in the world. It is the Wagyu of pork, 100% purebred Ibérico. It is quite simply the best you can get,” adds Fabian.
Chefs are increasingly including cochinillo on their menus too as they seek to stand out. In fact, the main people buying this pork are aspiring and Michelin-star chefs from high profile restaurants in LA, Washington DC, Las Vegas, NY and Washington state who are “pushing culinary limits and giving their customers experiences that are typically not accessible through other means…. Their [restaurants] are garnering media attention because they break boundaries and understand that dining is an experience and Iberico pork offers an experience like no other.”