We got back on the highway heading north after leaving Pisa. Just as it was starting to get boring, I spotted some highway signs advertising 'cavo di marmo' - marble caves in Carrara. And from the highway, we could see these strange 'white' mountains not so far in the distance, and it wasn't snow. I wanted to check it out!
So we took the exit and followed the signs for 'cavo marmo', heading up towards the white mountains.
The marble quaries were just huge. I never realized how snow-white marble could be.
Along the way, Stef spotted signs for 'Colonnata' as well. He got really excited then. Lardo di Colonnata! Um, lardo is lard, aka, pure pork fat... the white stuff. Apparently this place is famous for its pig fat.
Actually, I had heard about this place before. When we were in Chicago, we happened to watch Anthony's Bourdain No Reservations episode in Tuscany. And he had visited this little village of Colonnata for its lard.
As we got closer, we found a sign blocking farther road access to the village. Darn, we had to walk the rest of the way. We had to trek up about a mile uphill in the sweltering heat to get there. This lardo better be good!
Yup, this village loves its pig products.
There were various 'larderia', lard makers, around town.
This village takes its pig products seriously. We got to taste some, and we bought some to take back for friends to taste. I'm not exactly sure what else we would with it, but it's not every day we're in the area.
One little slice on a piece of bread was enough for me. It's melt in your mouth good, if you can get past the fact that it's all fat. You'd probably like it if you like bacon.
The secret to Colonnata's lardo? The lard is cured in marble tubs or marble caves, which makes sense given the village's location amidst the marble mountains.
We didn't visit any of the actual caves, but on our way back we had to drive through some narrow tunnels carved through the marble mountainside. It was quite the adventure.