Colonnata is a small town at the feet of the Apuan Alps, in the province of Massa Carrara, the area is known for its marble caves and the town for its production of a characteristic cured meat once used as the traditional bread and butter of the quarrymen: the lard, in Italian ‘Lardo’, of Colonnata.
Today the Lardo is one of the highlights of typical Tuscan products, one of the most delicious and delicate cured meats derived from pork processing. Traditionally sliced thinly and then eaten with toasted bread as ‘bruschetta’ or with fresh tomatoes, this tasty food has a unique recipe that is deeply linked with the area. The lard is obtained from the fatty layer of the pig’s back, accurately trimmed and processed according to an old tradition and secular experience. When visiting Colonnata you will see that the dates on some of the marble 'Conca' box are over 400 years old, this will show you what does it mean the tradition. The unique preparation and therefore the typicality of the cured meat is associated with the particular characteristics of the transpiration and impermeability of the marble extracted in the Colonnata area. The lard has in fact been certified as a Igp product (Protected geographical indication). Its processing system, unchanged for hundreds of years, was the cause of a long diatribe for the protection of hygiene standards and the organoleptic composition of the product, but in the end the value of history and tradition prevailed over everything else.
His goodness and uniqueness are due to: Marble, Ingredients, Processing and Microclimate Colonnata.
The marble: the basins in which the curing takes place are obtained from a single block of marble which is an excellent heat insulator, this preserves the lard from possible temperature changes, also its porosity allows the fat to "breathe" and to soak the aromas.
The ingredients: salt preserves and extracts moisture; garlic besides giving taste is an antibacterial and antifungal natural and extraordinarily effective; rosemary as an antioxidant ; black pepper creates an environment hostile to bacterial growth, lard is obtained from the fatty layer of the back of the pig cleaned up the fattest part (called "spongy"); among other aromas can also be used cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, star anise and oregano.
The Processing: First, the Conca is vigorously rubbed with garlic and herbs ("shirt") then lies the first piece of Lardo on the bottom of a layer of natural salt, freshly ground black pepper, fresh peeled garlic, rosemary and chopped sage; the Conca is then filled in layers alternating Lardo, salt and flavorings to then be covered by a slab of marble. The Lardo remains in the Conca for a period ranging from six to ten months for the seasoning.
The microclimate of Colonnata: the county is built on the rock, its wineries are particularly fresh and moist, this causes the formation of natural brine curing. The result is extraordinary, so come to Colonnata and Buon Appetito.
Tagliatelle Walnuts, Lardo of Colonnata and Rosemary
Ingredients for 5 people:
- 500 g/17.63oz of Tagliatelle
- 12 walnuts
- 4 spoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper and rosemary on taste
- 100 g/3.53oz of Lardo di Colonnata
- 50 g/1.76oz of grated Parmesan
Shell the walnuts, deprive them of the skin and crush them, fry in a pan with oil, salt and pepper. After a few minutes add the Lardo cut into thin strips and rosemary on taste, brown them a few seconds. Meanwhile, boil the Tagliatelle in salted water. Drain tagliatelle 'al dente' and mix with walnuts and Lardo and grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy your tasty work.