Guanciale, an Italian signature cured meat
Guanciale is magic. Imagine bacon, only better; porkier, tastier, richer. The name Guanciale comes from the “cheek” of the pig (the jowl). It is different than other Italian cured meats, such as lard and pancetta, because of the diverse composition of the cut, basically a rich fat tinged with lean meat. The fat content places it in the middle between the two cured meats mentioned above and it is considered a key ingredient in many Italian recipes.
It is the great Guanciale to give a unique flavor to the sauces and dishes of central Italy – pasta carbonara, amatriciana or gricia. In Lazio and Abruzzo, in the small town of Amatrice in the province of Rieti, and Camposto near L’Aquila, the traditional Guanciale is prepared by partially smoking it, thus becoming a typical specialty renowned throughout the country.
We’re not talking about one of the most famous Italian cured meats. Despite being very accessible in terms of price Guanciale is mostly known among food connoisseurs, able to confer a touch of originality to thousands of recipes with beans, artichokes and porcini mushrooms.