A Savory Meat From The Snow Caps
Speck: Smoked Prosciutto
What is Speck?
Speck is a cured smoked ham originating in South Tyrol in Northeastern Italy. South Tyrol is known for its snow capped mountains and heavy German-Austrian influence. Speck is not considered in the same category as our well-known and beloved prosciutto. It gets its own category when it comes to cured hams.
What Does Speck Taste Like?
The reason Speck gets its own category when it comes to cured hams is because of its unique taste and texture, unlike prosciutto crudo. Speck is darker in color and denser than prosciutto crudo, as well as being very elastic in nature and holds the deep aromas of the mountains. Its taste is smokey and savory, curated from juniper and bay leaf spices. Speck and Prosciutto Crudo are cousins in nature, however, Speck holds a slightly more sophisticated texture, density, and flavor.
How is Speck Made?
The process of making Speck is taken very seriously. There are actually only 29 producers of Speck that are authorized and certified to make this special product. Speck is made from the best materials. Only the highest quality pork legs are chosen from pigs that received a special diet and specific living conditions. The process of making Speck is taken so seriously because it is regulated so strictly that the transport of the meat to the production facilities is never frozen. Each leg is then rubbed with a mix of spices always containing salt and pepper and usually juniper and bay leaves. Each spice mixture differs with each production facility but there is never more than a 5% salt content to keep up with the consortium’s regulations. The legs are then left for 3 weeks in a cool room and rotated multiple times to ensure the meat has been evenly saturated. The next step is smoking the meat. This is what gives Speck its unique mountain flavor. Its technique includes a little bit of smoke and a lot of the fresh mountain air. After smoking the meat, it is then left to be cured for about 22 weeks in a cool, air-circulated room. After the curing process is complete, the meat is then inspected to make sure it is up to regulation, then packaged and sent out.
How to Serve Speck?
You can absolutely go ahead and just serve Speck on its own. Its texture and flavor does not need a companion to accentuate, although it does go deliciously with compliments. You can put Speck on a cheese board along with a light fruit flavored cheese such as Piave DOP to perfectly contrast the Speck’s smokiness. Speck can also be used in a number of dishes with eggs and pastas.
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