Lardo di Colonnata originates from the tiny hamlet of Colonnata in Tuscany situated at 500m above sea level and around 8 km from Carrara on the coast.
The town is at the heart of the famous marble quarries near the Ligurian border and the local lardo kept the workers fed and nourished.
Yet, what was once a rough and ready lunch is now a sought after delicacy and one of Italy's typical product success stories.
So much so that it seems Lardo di Colonnata is produced across Italy to keep up with demand, but the real thing can be identified by 'Lardo di Colonnata IGP' clearly visible on the label.
It is made from the back of the pig and is prepared by first cutting the meat and treating the individual pieces with salt and spices such as cinnamon.
They are then immersed in brine and placed inside a vessel excavated from the marble (view our 9 second video above!).
So starts a slow process of seasoning in a unique microclimate at the end of which the meat achieves its distinctive smell and smooth consistency.
Cut into slices at least 5cm wide the lardo can be white or slightly red. To serve, the meat is laid on hot toast.
If it is produced well the whole combination should just melt in the mouth as we found out in a tiny restaurant in central Colonnata.
It was called La Marmifera and you can see the plate of lardo di Colonnata we ate here.
There are many small places keeping this process alive in town and they can be visited. Look out for the sing 'Lardo di Conca'.
SUGGESTED LARDO DI COLONNATA LINKS