South Tyrolean Speck
This delicacy has ancient origins and was born for the need to store the meat of the pigs slaughtered in the Christmas period and consume it throughout the year.
The part of the pig that is mostly used to prepare Speck is the thigh, which is carefully deboned and cut.
Afterwards, the meat is flavoured with salt, pepper, allspice, garlic and juniper berries. Some recipes include also other spices such as rosemary, marjoram, laurel, coriander…
However, the true peculiarity of Speck lies in fact that the meat undergoes two preservation methods: smoking and drying.
The wood of Norway spruce, silver fir, pine or beech is the most used. It is chosen carefully, because its influence on the final taste is considerable. During this process, branches of juniper are often used, because they enrich the flavour and have antibacterial properties, so that the meat is better preserved. The temperature is usually not over 20°C. The smoking process takes about 3 weeks, during which the colour of Speck becomes less intense and reaches the typical hue.
The drying process, instead, must take place at a temperature between 15°C and 20°C, with a relative humidity between 60% and 70%.
A stretch of time between 20 and 24 weeks is necessary to complete the process.
Hitting the ham at the end of the process and analysing the sound produced makes it possible to understand if the drying process has occurred correctly or not.
Speck has been given the protected status (PGI). It is excellent with bread, cheese and wine and it is widely used in the cuisine of many starred chefs.
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