Guanciale is a non-smoked, salt-cured, Italian meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia which is the Italian word for cheek. A specialty of central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio; Guanciale is made by taking an entire pig jowl, hand trimming it, and removing any hair and glands. A rub made out of salt, cracked pepper, and fresh aromatic herbs is liberally massaged onto the meat. The prepped meat is then left to dry cure for a week or more depending on size.
After the curing period the rub is rinsed off and the Guanciale patted dry before being hung to age and air dry until it loses approximately 30% of its original weight. This curing process gives the Guanciale a delicate velvety texture, and a rich, intense, seductive pork flavour. Upon cooking, the fat typically melts away giving a great depth of flavour to any dishes and sauces it is added to.
Used for generations in classic pasta creations such as Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Bucatini all’Amatriciana, lardons of Guanciale make an excellent addition to bean stews or cassoulets, and when used in the preparation of Spuma di Gota and spread on a crostini its taste is unsurpassed!