Product Description: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
Colonnata I.G.P. Lard is a cured meat product obtained from the fat of selected pork back, salted, and matured inside marble basins.
Production Method: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
The processing is seasonal and takes place between September and May of each year. The curing process occurs traditionally in basins carved from marble blocks originating from the "Canaloni" marble basin in Colonnata (Massa Carrara). Each basin is rubbed inside with garlic and then filled with alternating layers of lard and a mixture consisting of natural sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh rosemary, and peeled and chopped fresh garlic (other spices can also be added). The containers are then sealed with a marble slab or suitable material. The ingredients are left to rest for a minimum of six months in slightly ventilated rooms where humidity depends solely on natural factors. During this phase, the consistency of the so-called "brine" released by the lard as a result of prolonged contact with salt must be checked.
Appearance and Flavor: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
Colonnata I.G.P. Lard varies in shape, roughly rectangular with a thickness of about 3 cm. The bottom is covered with rind, the top with salt, herbs, and spices. The interior may have lean streaks. It has a uniform and soft texture; the color is white, slightly pink, or faintly browned. The aroma is rich with flavors, and the taste is delicate and fresh, enriched by the aromatic herbs and spices that cover it.
Gastronomy: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
Colonnata I.G.P. Lard should be stored in a cellar or a cool place. Alternatively, it can be stored in a refrigerator. After cutting, it's a good practice to fold the leftover rind "tongue" over the lard and leave the piece of lard covered with its salt; then it can be wrapped in a slightly damp cloth. Ideally, Colonnata I.G.P. Lard is enjoyed as is, sliced thinly, served with toasted bread, or as a standalone dish, and can be paired with unusual combinations such as seafood. It pairs well with structured wines like Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Commercialization: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
The product is sold under the denomination of Colonnata I.G.P. Lard. It is marketed in slices, pre-sliced or ground, and can be vacuum-sealed or packaged in other suitable packaging.
Distinctive Feature: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
The production area of Colonnata I.G.P. Lard is characterized by high humidity, mild summer temperatures, and limited daily and annual temperature variations. Together, these factors create a unique microclimate ideal for the natural processing and preservation of the product.
History: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
The origins of Colonnata I.G.P. Lard likely date back to Roman times. However, there isn't a well-documented history for this product, only hypotheses and legends. According to one of these, Michelangelo would stock up on lard when he visited Colonnata to personally select blocks of statuary marble. Nonetheless, several elements support its origin: historical references, religious or cultural connections such as the traditional lard festival, gastronomic evidence of the product's quality over time, and social and economic references like producers using traditional methods for years.
Production Area: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
The production area of Colonnata I.G.P. Lard is exclusively represented by Colonnata, a hamlet of the town of Carrara, in the province of Massa Carrara, Tuscany region. The pigs used for Colonnata I.G.P. Lard production must come from the following regions: Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, and Molise.
Production Regulations: Colonnata I.G.P. Lard
The Protected Geographical Indication "Colonnata" is reserved exclusively for the cured meat product that meets the conditions and requirements established in these production regulations.
The production area of "Colonnata" is exclusively represented by Colonnata, a hilly mountainous hamlet of the town of Carrara, Massa Carrara province, as better defined by the attached map.
3.1. Raw Materials and Ingredients.
The pigs intended for the production of "Colonnata" must come from the regions of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, and Molise.
"Colonnata" is obtained from cuts of meat corresponding to the adipose layer (cleared of the fatty part) that covers the back from the occipital region to the rump, and laterally extends to the belly. The thickness must exceed 3 cm.
The ingredients for processing and curing the product are natural sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh rosemary, peeled and roughly chopped garlic. These ingredients are binding, with the producer's discretion in determining their quantities. The producer may also use other whole or ground spices, especially cinnamon, star anise, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, and other aromatic herbs such as sage and oregano. Freeze-dried substances, natural, nature-identical and artificial flavors, preservatives, additives, and starters are excluded.
3.2. Production Method.
The microclimatic characteristics in the processing area are crucial in the dynamics of the production cycle.
Processing is seasonal and occurs between September and May each year. The lard must be processed fresh. Within 72 hours of slaughter, it must be trimmed, massaged with salt, and placed in marble basins, locally known as "conche," previously rubbed with garlic. The lard is layered with other ingredients until the basin is filled, and a lid is placed on top. The basins are white marble containers shaped like tubs, made from material from the "Canaloni" area in Colonnata, known for its composition and structure essential for optimal aging and maturation of the product. The basins can be carved from a single marble block or from slabs with a thickness of at least 2 cm, appropriately assembled. The lid for the basins will be made of marble or other suitable material. The lard must rest in the basins for a minimum of six months. Aging should occur in low-ventilation rooms without forced conditioning, to maintain the natural humidity of the environment. During aging, the producer must monitor the consistency of the so-called "brine," the liquid released by the lard due to prolonged contact with salt.
If the lard does not form sufficient "brine," the producer may supplement it with a cold solution of saturated sodium chloride water, obtained by dissolving sea salt, as needed for optimal product preservation.
3.3. Product Characteristics.
At the time of consumption, "Colonnata" presents the following characteristics.
- Shape: variable, approximately rectangular; thickness not less than 3 cm;
External Appearance: the bottom retains the rind while the top is covered in aging salt darkened by aromatic plants and spices; a lean streak may be present.
Overall, the product appears moist, with a uniform and soft texture, white, slightly pink, or faintly browned color.
- Aroma: fragrant and rich in aromas;
- Flavor: delicate and fresh taste, almost sweet, finely savory if from the rump area, enriched by the aromatic herbs and spices used in processing.
The product is marketed in variable-weight slices from 250 to 5000 grams, vacuum-sealed in plastic packaging or other suitable materials, or otherwise packaged to maintain its organoleptic characteristics. The lard may also be marketed pre-sliced or ground and appropriately packaged. Pre-slicing or grinding with subsequent packaging may only occur in the production area and must not compromise the product's organoleptic characteristics. The final retailer may slice it at the counter, ensuring the special non-reusable seal described in Article 4.
The package must obligatorily bear the following indications on the label in clear and legible print, in addition to the Community graphic symbol and related mentions (in compliance with the provisions of Regulation EC 1726/98 and subsequent amendments) and the legally required information: "Colonnata" followed by the Protected Geographical Indication or its abbreviation IGP in larger letters than any other wording on the label; the name, business name, and address of the producing and packaging company; the product logo, consisting of a diamond-shaped figure with jagged edges and the profile of a pig on top of mountain ridges, measuring 73x73 mm with the letters "IGP" below, topped by the words "Colonnata" in two lines, spanning a horizontal space of 73 mm. The zones surrounding the figures are colored green and pink, while the texts, using the Galliard typographic font, are black. The logo may be proportionally adjusted for various uses. Before packaging, the producer must apply the special non-reusable seal, reproducing or containing a tag reproducing the product logo, on the rind of the lard, near one of the shorter sides of the slice. In the event that pre-slicing or grinding with suitable packaging makes it impossible to apply or retain the aforementioned seal on the product, the logo must be applied solely to the packaging. Pantone color references are as follows: Any qualification not expressly provided for is prohibited. However, the use of indications referring to private brands is permitted, provided they are not laudatory and do not mislead the consumer. The use of the name of the pig farming company from which the product derives, as well as other truthful and documentable references allowed by EU, national, or regional regulations that are not contrary to the purposes and contents of these regulations, is allowed. The designation "Colonnata" cannot be translated.
Elements Proving the Product's Origin
The elements proving the product's origin consist of: historical references, such as multiple testimonies over time attesting to the exclusive connection with the region's unique method of processing and preserving lard, the attribution of the country's fame to this activity, the presence of marble basins on-site dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries; religious references, such as the local cult of St. Anthony Abbot, considered throughout the centuries as an inspiration for healing the "sacred fire" through applications of lard to the skin, as well as the dedication of the parish church to St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of butchers; cultural references, such as the tradition of the lard festival coinciding with the feast of St. Bartholomew; gastronomic references, such as numerous attestations over time to the product's excellence combined with information about its exclusive origin from Colonnata; social and economic references, such as the presence of producers who have been carrying out this type of production for years with fair and consistent methods.
The traceability of the product is further evidenced by the registration of breeders, slaughterers, producers, and packagers in a dedicated list maintained by the control structure referred to in Article 7.
Elements Proving the Connection to the Environment
The elements proving the connection to the environment are represented by geographic and climatic factors, including sufficiently high altitude, pronounced humidity in the environment, not excessively high summer temperatures, and limited daily and annual temperature fluctuations, which together create a unique microclimate particularly suitable for the natural processing and preservation of the product; economic and social factors, including the strong integration of production activity into the lives of the marble miners in Colonnata, who have had access to a highly calorific food necessary to endure the challenging working conditions in the quarries; productive factors, including the easy availability of raw materials, basic ingredients, and special marble (coming from the "Canaloni" location) required for product preservation, the product's exposure to the unique atmosphere of Colonnata's "cellars," as well as the use of time-tested processing and preservation methods in a fair and consistent manner.
Control over the PGI "Colonnata Lard" is carried out by a control structure in accordance with the provisions of Article 10 of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92.