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|Lardo di Colonnata : A Tuscan Delicacy|
Pork is a staple food of the mountain regions of northern Italy, where it's often said that a well butchered pig should leave 'nothing but the oink' behind. As a pig is typically around 30% fat, thrifty locals had to come up with a way to use and preserve this valuable source of protein, and the result is Lardo.
Lardo di Colonnata, to give it its full name, is a delicacy produced from pork fat in and around the Tuscan mountain town of Colonnata. Happily for fans of cured meat, it's not only a frugal way of preserving pork fat over winter - it's delicious too!
It's made in large vats known as conche, fashioned from marble quarried at the nearby 'white mountain' of Cararra, which are first liberally rubbed with garlic. Next, layers of pork fat, salt, and a special mix of herbs and spices are added until the vats are full. The conche are then sealed with a wooden lid and left in cool mountain caves for 6 months or longer to mature in the clean air.
After the maturation time is over, the conche are opened to reveal a silky-smooth, meltingly tender 'meat' which can be eaten in much the same way as Parma Ham or other prosciutto.
While Lardo is often used to keep roasted meats moist by placing a thin layer over the skin, it is also delicious simply sliced thinly and eaten with bread, olives, and a good extra virgin olive oil as part of an antipasto course. It is not at all tough or greasy, and is well worth trying even if the idea of eating pure fat leaves you a little apprehensive!
Despite the long years of making Lardo in the traditional way, most of the examples that you may find in your local deli or store will have been made in a much more industrial setting, mainly as a result of modern hygiene laws taking precedence over customs and heritage. Gone are the marble conche and the mountain air, replaced by stainless steel and air conditioning.
However, visitors to the area around Colonnata may still be lucky and get hold of Lardo made in the old way that has been proven over the centuries - just don't tell the authorities if you do!
Andrea is a writer for the Recipedia food and drink glossary where you can read about more Italian delicacies such as Bresaola and Balsamic Vinegar.
Even though Mexican restaurants in Kalamazoo, MI are tasty, you have to wonder how much better the food would be coming from the source. The same goes for Italian food dining establishments, Chinese food restaurants and most other dining establishments that try to recreate meals from other countries. Some may be run by former residents of these countries, but the food ultimately has to be much better the closer to the source you are.
This comparison can be imagined like one of your beloved recipes from your grandmother. Take apple pie for instance. Certainly, apple pie at a classic American food restaurant might be very good, but the one your grandmother bakes is probably significantly better. Therefore, Mexican food, noted for use of a variety of ingredients and spices native to Mexico, has to be amazing when it comes from the source.
The staple food items in Mexico are corn and beans. Natives use corn to create the dough used to make tamales and tortillas among other corn-based foods. They also frequently use oregano, cilantro, chipotle and chili powder. These and other ingredients are used to make popular Mexican cuisine. Cuisine in this country varies drastically due to size and climate. In north Mexico, goat, beef and ostrich are common. In particular, flank steak, a cut of beef that comes from the abdominal muscles of a cow is a frequently used ingredient for various meat dishes. In southeast Mexico, chicken and spicy vegetable dishes are most common. Given the location, food from this area also typically has a Caribbean influence. The Yucatán area of the country frequently uses achiote seasoning as well as moles. Goat birria, which is a stew of goat meat and spicy tomato sauce, is a staple dish in this region as well. More exotic dishes can be located in villages throughout Mexico that feature items like deer, rattlesnake and insects.
Food recipes are best in terms of having a healthy lifestyle. If you are those who do not have time or wanting to have some great meals with your family members then you definitely want to have a peek of what food recipes has for your family. Now you can not only enjoy a feast but eating the healthy way.
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The items generally found in Kalamazoo, MI Mexican food restaurants, like quesadillas or tacos, are street cuisine in Mexico. Tacos, tamales, tortas, quesadillas, various desserts and beverages are all options offered by street vendors in Mexico. These choices are cheap and fast ways to grab lunch in the country.
Therefore, while Mexican food in Kalamazoo, MI can be good, getting food from the source is best. As is true with any cuisine from a different country., The ingredients do not have to travel as far and the various meals are being made by experts in the cuisine.
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