Mafalda is the oldest producer of lard in Colonnata, established back in 1930, when lard was just a poor man’sfood that the miners ate with their bread.In 1954, Mr Veronelli, who at the time was a young winemaker, went to Grandma Mafalda to buy the lard, which he referred to as “LarderiadellamiticaMafalda” (Lard from the legendary Mafalda).
As with extra virgin olive oil, which everyone refers to by that name but which actually differs from producer to producer, it is important to identify the producer of Lardo di Colonnata, because each one processes and ages the product using different amounts of ingredients and in different ways.Ours is made in accordance with fundamental rules established over four generations.
The process is similar to that used in many other places, but there are two essential additional components, one of which cannot be found anywhere else:the microclimate and the marble in which it is aged, which must be from the Canaloni marble beds of Colonnata and does not absorb or exude substances, thanks to its extremely fine grain that gives it glassy, almost granite-like characteristics.
Chemical and bacteriological analyses have shown that the ancient method is extremely effective and no chemical treatments or preservatives are needed for its conservation.
Even those suffering from food disorders and following a special diet can eat Lardo di Colonnata because, contrary to what you might think, the cholesterol content is almost non-existent*
*Chemical analyses, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 2011, University of Pisa
Unique elements demonstratea close bond with the environment:the surrounding quarries of white marble, the relatively high altitude, the heightened level of humidity, summer temperatures that are not too excessive and limited daily and annual temperature ranges, which together generate a unique and exclusive microclimate, perfect for processing and preserving the product in a natural manner, together with the use of spices and aromatic herbs that can be found in the unspoilt nature of the Carrara side of the Apuan Alps.
In 2003, Mafalda obtained the PGI certification and EEC stamp, which certify the quality of the production process and authenticity of the product, which is the fruit of an age-old culture of miners from the marble quarries of Carrara, who managed to preserve the bond with nature and ancient knowledge related to the use of aromatic herbs and spices and the correct ageing times.
*Analisi chimiche, SCIENZE E TECNOLOGIE AGRARIE, 2011, Università Pisa
A hamlet of Carrara in the province of Massa and Carrara.An old marble mining town, the origins of which date back to Roman times, it was used for the extraction of marble and had its base in the port of Luni (no longer in existence) in the Sarzana area.It stands about 700 metres above sea level, in the heart of the marble centre of the Apuan Alps.It is about 7 km from the city of Carrara andis set between the broken peaks of the Campanili, the imposing Vandreta“ravaneto” (ravaneto is an Italian word used to indicate an accumulation of quarry debris), the Vergheto woods and the Canaloni quarries.
Two different stories are toldabout the origins of the name Colonnata.Some believe that the name derives from the Roman colony established in 40 BC to house the slaves that were to be put to work in the quarry.Others believe that the name derives from the fact that the quarries were used by the Romans to make the marble columns (which were also partially worked there) with which they built the temples in Rome.The Colonnata quarries were very famous in the Roman world, as their marble replaced the Greek Parian and Pentelic marble.The Roman “cuts” can still be seen in the valley today.
A mining town, Colonnata has produced lard since time immemorial.This food was the staple diet of the “marble men”, who rose a few hours before dawn to climb the steep slopes of the quarries on foot.They took loaves of bread with them and slivers of something to eat with it:lard.“Lard that is rich in calories, that sticks to your lungs, that is so good for your health; that melts in your mouth, that is so tasty nothing can beat it”; whispered the marble miners, perhaps to console themselves for having to eat poor man’s food every day, which was kept in a cool place such as the old cellars nestled in the rock.Hence the skill of preparation, highlighting the intelligence of the inhabitants.Strips of lard were placed in a marble basin: marble from the Canaloni beds with an extremely fine grain, excavated by hand, marble thatlets nothing escape.Lardo di Colonnatacan be found on the tables of the most famous people and international places.Many people, too many, try to counterfeit the brand and its quality.Consumer society is like a blender turning faster and faster that tries to homogenize anything that is different, remote and authentic. However, there is only one Lardo di Colonnata and it is up there, in the white marble quarries of the Apuan Alps.