Fat-induced food orgasm, Lardo di Colonnata
Many many moons ago I was walking down the streets of Pescara with one of my seemingly many Italian boyfriends, Alberto. We stopped to admire the store front of a gorgeous specialty food store. In the window stood a large marble container. Alberto looked over at me his eyes salivating. He stated “hmmmmm Lardo!”
I looked at him with horror “Yum Lard! You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re salivating over a tub of lard. Disgusting!”
Fast forward a few years and I’m sitting at the table of one of my favorite Milanese restaurants al Garghet and another one of my Italian boyfriends (the one that I call The Italian Ex or The Ex ) was trying to convince me to eat this lardo. Once again their was horror written all over my face. Images of clogged arteries flashed through my head. But The Ex insisted that I try the lardo. For better or worse, I’m willing to try most things once provided I’m pretty sure that my next bite will not cause food poisoning or sudden death.
What followed was a fat induced food orgasm. The lardo was smooth, spicy, decedent!
What I didn’t know those many moons ago is that lard and lardo are not the same things. What Americans and I guess most English speaking people call lard is what Italians call strutto. The Crisco before Crisco existed.
On the other hand lardo refers to a type of cured meat, specifically the firm “fatback” of the pig.
The most famous of the Italian “lardos” is lardo di Colonnata. Colonnata is a quaint little town located in the hills between two of Italy’s most famous marble quarries. Using the materials available to them, for centuries the people from Colonnata have been making this delicacy first by rubbing tubs of marble with vinegar and garlic. The marble container is then filled with layer upon layer of fatback. Each layer is covered with sea salt and a special mix of herbs and spices. Once filled, the container is closed and left of age for a least 6 months.
Traditionally lardo is served thinly sliced on warmed rustic bread. However you eat it, the result is sublime!