I’ve been on a search for Lardo for a long time. I’ve checked 4505 Meats, Fatted Calf, and Schaub’s. By a crazy random happenstance I made a trip to the Ferry Building in San Francisco. While walking around the stalls I came across Boccalone. As usual, I asked, “Do you have Lardo?” followed by a chuckle because in the past I’ve received many strange faces followed by inquisitive looks then followed by a firm, “No.” However, this round was different, the cashier pointed to the refrigerated section. Low and behold—Lardo.
I didn’t bother asking the origin. Here’s information from Wikipedia:
Lardo is a type of salume (Italian charcuterie) made by curing strips of fatback with rosemary and other herbs and spices.
The most famous lardo is from the Tuscan hamlet of Colonnata, where lardo has been made since Roman times. Colonnata is a frazione of the larger city of Carrara, which is famous for its marble; Colonnata is itself a site where Carrara marble is mined and, traditionally, lardo is cured for months in basins made of this local marble. Lardo di Colonnata is now included in the Ark of Taste catalogue of heritage foods as well as enjoying IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status.
The real question is how does it taste? Remember the last time you were eating bacon and you got a nice juicy pocket of fat amongst the meat? It’s just like that without adding any kind of greasiness. Unlike the fat from Prosciutto, Largo is very delicate and smooth. While people have called it meat butter, you can’t spread it. The best way I ate it so far is by slicing it really thin and putting it in my mouth while the fat melts away. A similar experience is almost like eating the fattiest piece of Toro you ever had in your life. Like Toro, you want to let the heat of your body melt the fat away.
I’ll probably incorporate Lardo into my other dishes where I know it needs a little bit more kick and when I say kick, I mean fat. Or just as it is as an antipasto.