Speck is a distinctively juniper-flavored prosciutto originally from Tyrol, a historical region that since 1918 partially lies in Austria and partially in Italy. Speck's origins at the intersection of two culinary worlds is reflected in its synthesis of Italian salt-curing and central European smoking.

The first historical mention of "Speck dell'Alto Adige" was in the early 1300s when some of the current production techniques were already in use. "Speck dell'Alto Adige (Südtiroler Speck)" is now a protected geographic designation with PGI status.

In parts of the English-speaking culinary world, the term "speck" refers to Italian speck, a type of prosciutto, rather than German speck, which is identical to the Italian "lardo". The term "speck" became part of popular parlance only in the eighteenth century and replaced the older term "bachen", a cognate of "bacon".

Other varieties with geographical indications include:
*"Gailtaler Speck" from Austria, with "PGI" status, which has been made since the 15th century in Gailtal in Kärnten [http://www.lebensmittelnet.at/article/articleview/49485/1/17825 Lebensmittelnet.at - Gailtaler Speck] (accessed 09/Jan/2008)] .
*"Tiroler Speck" from Austria's Tyrol region, has "PGI" status, and has been made since at least the 15th century [http://www.tourist-information.at/tirol.php?tmp=03 Austria Tourist Info - Tirol] (German) (accessed 09/Jan/2008)] .


Like prosciutto and other hams, speck is made from the hind leg of the pig, but, unlike other prosciutti, speck is boned before curing.

A leg of pork is deboned and divided into large sections called "baffe", and then cured in salt and various spice combination which may include garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries, nutmeg and other spices, and then rested for a period of several weeks. After this the smoking process begins.

Speck is cold-smoked slowly and intermittently for two or three hours a day for a period of roughly a week using woods such as beech at temperatures that never exceed 20°C (68°F).

The speck is then matured for five months.


Speck is ubiquitous in the local cuisine of the province of Bolzano-Bozen, and is also found in the Austrian, Czech, Dutch, German, Italian and Slovak cuisines.

Like other salumi, speck is often served in paper thin slices which, like prosciutto, can be draped over sugary fruits like melon, pears and figs. Tissue-thin slices of speck can also be served with horseradish, pickles and dark rye bread studded with raisins and nuts, a more Austrian-influenced presentation.

Typically appearing in pastas, in risotto, on pizzas, and alongside hearty whole-grain breads, speck can also be seen in the company of shellfish, sometimes wrapped around scallops or rolled about breadsticks and served with lobster salad. Speck can be cut into thick strips and added to pasta sauces or any dish beginning with a soffritto of olive oil and chopped vegetables. In dishes like risotto, the extremely strong flavour of speck can usually be cut with light flavours such as parsley, lemon, mint, etc. In salads, speck pairs well with apples, sprouts, mushrooms, and hearts of celery.

Speck can easily replace bacon or as a smoky alternative to Pancetta. The differences between speck and bacon include different time lengths of smoking, the technique of curing it, and the fact that speck cures for a longer period of time than bacon does.



External links

* it icon de icon fr icon [http://www.speck.it/44.html Speck Alto Adige PGI]
* [http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?gdcom+kBxzD4+gd46.html Recipe for Sauerkraut with Speck (GermanDeli.com)]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Speck — Speck. El speck es un jamón con un distintivo sabor a enebro originario de la región histórica del Tirol, que se cura con sal y se ahúma. La primera mención histórica conocida es de principios de los años 1200, cuando algunas de las actuales… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Speck — Speck, n. [Cf. Icel. spik blubber, AS. spic, D. spek, G. speck.] The blubber of whales or other marine mammals; also, the fat of the hippopotamus. [1913 Webster] {Speck falls} (Naut.), falls or ropes rove through blocks for hoisting the blubber… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Speck — Speck, n. [OE. spekke, AS. specca; cf. LG. spaak.] 1. A small discolored place in or on anything, or a small place of a color different from that of the main substance; a spot; a stain; a blemish; as, a speck on paper or loth; specks of decay in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • speck — [spek] n [: Old English; Origin: specca] a very small mark, spot, or piece of something speck of ▪ a speck of dust …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Speck — Sm std. (10. Jh.), mhd. spec, ahd. spec, as. spekk Stammwort. Aus g. * spiku m. Speck , auch in anord. spik n. Seehundsspeck, Walspeck , ae. spic n. Außergermanisch vergleicht sich ohne anlautendes s und mit unklarer Nasalierung l. pinguis fett …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • speck|le — «SPEHK uhl», noun, verb, led, ling. –n. a small spot or mark; speck: »This hen is gray with white speckles. –v.t. to mark with or as if with speckles: »The dog is speckled with paint. That boy is speckled with freckles. ╂[probably < speck + le …   Useful english dictionary

  • Speck — Speck, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Specked}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Specking}.] To cause the presence of specks upon or in, especially specks regarded as defects or blemishes; to spot; to speckle; as, paper specked by impurities in the water used in its… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Speck [2] — Speck, 1) Max S. Freiherr von Sternburg, geb. am 30. Juli 1778 in Gröba bei Riesa, erlernte seit 1796 in Leipzig den Handel, bereiste fast ganz Europa, führte zuerst durch eigne Etablissements England die seine sächsische Wolle zu u. beförderte… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • speck — s.m.inv. ES ted. {{wmetafile0}} prosciutto crudo affumicato di suino, specialità altoatesina, tirolese e bavarese {{line}} {{/line}} DATA: 1976. ETIMO: ted. Speck propr. lardo …   Dizionario italiano

  • speck — [ spek ] noun count a very small spot or mark: a speck of dirt …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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