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Lardo di Colonnata | Pork fat nirvana

Lardo di Colonnata | Pork fat nirvana | Italia Mia |

Belonging to the municipality of Carrara, considered the world's white marble capital, and the place where Michelangelo used to shop the raw material for his sculptures, Colonnata is a small village perched on a ridge between two marble quarries in the Tuscan Apennine Apuane Mountains, which is mostly known for another kind of white marbling, the one in the lardo.
This smooth and delicious cured meat should not be mistaken with lard. What in the English-speaking world is commonly referred to as 'lard', is a rendered white paste that's used for cooking as a shortening, and named strutto in Italian, and sugna in the south of the peninsula.
Some folks are still nervous when it comes to eating fat. I personally am more suspicious of whoever rips the white part off prosciutto, but that's me. Lardo di Colonnata is a delicious cured "affettato" that should not be eaten with distraction. Each morsel of silken pork fat is a precious, melt-in-your-mouth, mystic experience, and the complexity of its flavor should be savored religiously.
Until recent times, lardo in northern Tuscany was considered a poor-man's meal, that cavatori –– the marble quarrymen of the area –– would stuff it in crusty homestyle bread sandwiches, along with sliced onions and tomatoes. This humble panino was prepared early in the morning before the men went off to carve statue staple out of the Apennines at 6200-ft altitude, a snack that had to last them all day. The calorie content, along with the vegetables and a nice flask of local wine, assured the necessary sustenance in the long and strenuous shifts at the quarries. In time lardo has become an exquisite gourmet item, and a highly sought foodie must.

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