Lardo di Colonnata is made using two great Tuscan products: the white marble from the Alps, and pork, the main type of livestock in the region. Marble caves have existed in Tuscany since the Roman Age. The marble found in the caves is of excellent quality and is used to make beautiful columns.
While the Romans focused their energy on increasing the amount of marble extracted, the Barbarians that ruled the land after the Romans preferred to raise pigs for pork products, including lard. The best lardo is undoubtedly produced in Colonnata, a small city is located in the Alps.
The constant mountain wind in Colonnata makes the ideal microclimate for aging lard. The fat is placed in marble tubs, or basins, with the perfect porousness. The Health Department questions the use of marble to no avail. The production of Lardo di Colonnata is regulated by IGP standards, which include aging the meat in marble. As soon as you leave the small, regulated area of production you will find that the quality of the lard declines.
Lardo di Colonnata IGP
To make lardo, a trimmed piece of lard is placed immediately in marble basins that have been rubbed with garlic.
The meat should not be refrigerated before curing. Salt, black pepper, rosemary, and garlic are placed in between the layers of lard. Some producers also add sage, star anise, oregano, coriander, or even cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg.
The aging occurs naturally in warm, fresh caves. It takes a minimum of 6 months, during which the amount of liquid released by the salt-covered lard is measured regularly.
Lardo di Colonnata has been made this way since the beginning. It is an extremely effective curing and aging practice because it does not require any additives or preservatives.