Speck is a delicatessen of Trentino Alto Adige. It fascinates the smell with its scent and taste with its delicately spicy and smoked flavor. The speck origins are to be found in neighboring Germania e Austria. In Italy still a large part of the production is in Val Venosta Val Pusteria. Since 1997 the Alto Adige speck is recognized as a product with a protected geographical indication, (IGP).
The speck, like many other cured meats typical of Italian gastronomy, has ancient origins: in the speck case the first documents mentioning it date back to the end of 1200. At that time it was still indicated with the German language terms as “bachen“, but also “spek“, which meansfat lard. Production at the time was linked to conservation. The quantities produced were in most cases limited to covering the needs of the family. Salting and smoking allowed the preservation of pork leg meat for a long time, from one year to the next. The fresh meat of december was processed and seasoned to be consumed until the following winter. There is no univocal speck recipe, and even today there are differences in the choice of spider..
The speck is the product of a processing that includes the seasoning after the treatment of salting and flavoring and smoking. The production phases are 5:
the choice of pork legs, which are then boned and cut according to the typical shape;
the “salmistratura” which consists in sprinkling the boned thighs with salt and a mix of spices like laurel, rosemary and juniper, but also pepper, allspice, garlic, coriander or cumin depending on the recipe of the producer;
the rest before smoking, a period of about three weeks in which the thighs remain in contact with the spices to favor the enrichment of the flavor with the aromas;
the long smoking, on iron frames inside chimneys fed by beech, specie or pine, and air drying, are the two consecutive phases lasting about 3 weeks;
seasoning in rooms at a constant temperature between 15 ° and 20 ° and controlled humidity. The last phase period varies between 20 and 24 weeks depending on the weight of the speck.
A serving of 50 g speck provides an average of 150 kcal. Most of the energy is given by proteins that represent about 30% of the weight and fat that is about 19% of the weight.
According to the indications of the “Guidelines for Healthy Italian Food” a portion of about 50 g can be consumed 1-2 times a week as the main source of protein of the meal. The indication to avoid exceeding with the consumption of red meat should not be underestimated so speck should be consumed during the day, and in the week, to replace other foods of the same category.
How to use
Speck is one of the typical South Tyrolean snack ingredients, the other is simple aromatic black bread. Speck is excellent cutted into thin slices, but also in thicker strips. The snack often also includes some pickled cucumber. Moreover, speck is one of the basic ingredients of canederli, knodel in German, a type of bread “gnocchi” served in broth or with butter and sage, and spatzle, little green “gnocchi” made with flour and spinach.
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