A pig bits tradition: Zabijacka

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Caveat: Vegan/vegetarian friends, you may want to skip this post.

Before moving to the Czech Republic, one of the only frames of reference BW had about the country was an Anthony Bourdain TV episode that features a traditional village pig slaughter - a zabijačka. Foodie that he is, BW was enamored. So when our Czech friend told us there would be a zabijačka in Prague 1, we jumped at the chance to go. 

It was put on by the Ambiente restaurant group in the courtyard of Čestr steakhouse, near the Muzeum metro stop, so we weren't in a village, but we were surrounded strictly by Czechs and we did eat lots of pig parts. So I call it sufficient. 

The Cestr courtyard, with the National Museum in the background
As we arrived at the event a few hours after it had started, we didn't see the butchering, which is fine by me. Done traditionally, you would wake up at the crack of dawn and begin preparing foodstuffs like vegetables, barley and seasonings.

Using intestine for sausage casings
I read on Wikipedia this rural tradition thrived under Communism, as it was much cheaper to raise and butcher food at home. Nowadays EU regulation dictates a number of things, from how pigs need to be rendered unconscious as to not suffer and what hygienic precautions need to be in place. Of course, it's a controversial practice and many animal rights groups would like it panned, pardon the pun.

It seems it's a dying tradition. (So punny today.)

The line for pig parts was verrrrrry long
It was freezing outside, yet we pigged out. Nearly all the parts of the bovine were cooked or utilized in the process, as you can see below...

Prdelačka - blood soup. Our pooch looks dubious; so were we
Bread with vepřové sádlo - pig lard

I think this is ovar - boiled, salty white meat

Some řízek (schnitzel) and tlačenka (head cheese)
Jitrnice - a white sausage the consistency of pudding
It was tasty and I'd consider going again, but not in temperatures that made icicles of my appendages. To see the Anthony Bourdain episode - for mature audiences and those not offended by meat processing - click below:

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