Pronunciation: [SHPECK; spehk]
Respectively, German and Italian for "bacon." In Germany, Speck is essentially lard, while in Italy it more closely resembles American bacon. Unlike the U.S. version, however, Italy's speck comes from hog legs, rather than the belly portion. It hails from Italy's Alto Adige region and has protected geographical indication designation. Speck is salted and seasoned with black pepper, pimento, garlic and juniper berries before being cured for about a month. It then undergoes 10 days of cold smoking with ash, beechwood or juniper, and further aging that can last for several months. Speck can be served thinly sliced as an antipasto, or diced and used in cooking in place of bacon or pancetta.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.