Colonnata, set amid marble caves and chestnut woods 550 meters above sea level, features an ideal microclimate for the aging of the product (at least six months, but up to two or even more years), which happens in marble tanks at a natural temperature (without forced refrigeration).Its production technique is distinctive: everyone in Colonnata inherited at least one marble tank and the knowledge of a process handed down identically for centuries.The raw material is pig fat, nowadays mostly bought in selected pig farms of middle and northern Italy. Pork rind and fat are scraped off, then it is cut into regular parallelepipeds and massaged with sea salt.Apart from salt, there are only three ingredients common to all recipes: black pepper, Rosemary and fresh garlic. Then come the optionals: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, sage, laurel, oregano, thyme…every single recipe – rigorously kept secret – features a different mix and dosage of herbs. One layer of lard and one of herbs are laid down one after another until the marble tank is full, then it is closed.Colonnata Lard is ready after six months, its slices white, soft and subtly scented. At the nose it is fragrant and full of aromas, its taste fresh and delicate, eriche by herbs and spices. Even though a big amount of salti s used (25 kg per 100 kg fat), it is extraordinarily sweet. But what makes the difference between the real Colonnata Lard and all of the others?apart from the climate, it is its seasonal processing (from September to May) and marble. Ageing among its breathing, living walls is not the same as in inert steel or – worse – plastic containers. Moreover marble itself is not all the same, it is necessary to choose the right one, dry and glass-like (among the various marble types in the Colonnata area, lard producers have selected as the best the one from Canaloni cave). The importance of the extraordinary variety of local herbs and spices and the fact that no additive, preservative or aroma are allowed is also not to be underestimated.
Image: © Fabrizio Tempesti