During the visit to the marble quarries, the participants of the next International Meeting 2023 will be able to taste the famous Lardo di Colonnata typical of the town of the same name in the Province of Massa-Carrara. It is produced with pork lard, aged in Carrara marble basins. The production area of Lardo di Colonnata is characterized by high humidity, mild summer temperatures, and limited daily and annual temperature ranges, which, overall, generate an exclusive microclimate, particularly suitable for the processing and natural preservation of the product.
Production is seasonal and takes place from September to May inclusive. The seasoning traditionally takes place in basins made from blocks of marble. Each basin is previously rubbed inside with garlic and then filled with alternating layers of lard and a mixture consisting of natural sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh rosemary, and fresh garlic, and peeled and chopped (to which other spices can also be added).
The containers are then closed with a marble slab or other suitable material. The ingredients are left to rest for a minimum of six months in poorly ventilated rooms, where humidity depends only on natural factors. During this phase, the consistency of the so-called “salamora” must be checked, which is the liquid released by the lard following prolonged contact with the salt.
The origins of Lardo di Colonnata date back to Roman times. However, this product has yet to document history, hypotheses, and legends. According to one of these, when he went up to Colonnata to personally choose the blocks of statuary marble, Michelangelo stocked up on lard. However, several elements prove its origin:
- Religious or cultural references, such as the holding of a traditional lard festival.
- Gastronomic references, such as the numerous attestations over time of the goodness of the product.
- Social and economic references, such as the presence of producers who have been carrying out this type of production with traditional methods for years.