Exploring the precious tradition of Italian Lardo di Colonnata
Lardo di Colonnata is a natural, delicious, cured pork product made from the fat of a pig's back
If you want to taste the authentic "Lardo di Colonnata", it is compulsory to go to Tuscany, in a little ancient village called, indeed, Colonnata, which is home to less than 300 people.
A few weeks ago the magazine italianiciuos interviewed Fausto Guadagni, discovering with his help the history of this incredible Italian culinary tradition.
Lardo di Colonnata is a natural cured pork product made from the fat of a pig's back. "It is aged in marble tubs from a little quarry called Canaloni, located high above Colonnata", the magazine explained, nearly 1000 meters above sea level. "The beauty of this marble", Fausto Guadagni pointed out, "as it does not add any flavor to the meat. [...] It acts as a refrigerated container without the need for any electricity, maintaining a constant temperature. Even in summer", eliminating the chance of any bacteria forming.
Something interesting to highlight is that, near Colonnata, lardo producers are used to store in in marble only because they are surrounded by marble. Elsewhere, such as in the Aosta Valley, marble is replaced by wooden containers, in Siena by terracotta.
Fausto Gadagni's family entered the lardo business in 1948. At that time, they owned a trattoria, a typical Italian small, family-run restaurant, when one day they started sharing their lardo with customers and friends, just to see whether they liked it, and they did!
Fausto joined the family business in 1984, and while he was managing the trattoria, he noticed that "costumers had a particular appreciation for the lardo we were serving, especially tourists from Florence, Liguria and Parma - so I decided to increase the production of our lardo to take advantage of the commercial opportunities available".
And look at where he is now: he has become one of the most appreciated lardo producers in Italy. In case you are now planning to taste it for the first time, please take in mind that "the thicker the peace of lean meat attached to the lard, the more salty the lardo will be".