The mere mention of pancetta makes our taste buds fill with an overwhelming sense of joy. Pancetta is the prime culinary tale of a joint endeavour between man and nature with the aim of prolonging meat life span and simultaneously creating new culinary value. A combination of bora, local herbs, spices, sea salt and pork belly results in Dalmatian pancetta.
True food enthusiasts know full well how to appreciate each and every piece of pancetta because they are familiar with the tedious process of curing pancetta. The pancetta making process takes place in stages. It is of utmost importance to let it stand for the minimum amount of time needed for the meat to pick up on quality. Today’s pancetta makers use pork belly obtained from the very best Slavonian pigs with the Black Slavonian Pig, an autochthonous breed, being especially sought after. Pork belly used to make pancetta is cut in 40 cm x 20 cm dimensions and is three to five centimetres thick. First-class pancetta should have an equal ratio of meat and fat, which should be spread evenly.
Pancetta is then cured in salt, large quantities of pepper, dried Mediterranean herbs – rosemary, sage and bay laurel leaves. The cured pork belly should be left to stand in the cure mixture for twenty days and should be flipped every two days. After curing comes the brief smoking on Dalmatian herbs. Pancetta is then bora dried, which gives it its authentic flavour and scent. The entire smoking and drying process takes at least seventy days to finish so this year’s first pancetta was served in early spring, while their culinary value will be put to good use well into winter.
The best way to serve pancetta is simply to slice it as a cold starter dish, but it’s an equally indispensible ingredient used to prepare a wide range of meat and fish dishes, pasta sauces and risottos, omelettes. It also makes a great addition to soups and salads. The flavour of bacon and smoke will make a fantastic addition to any dish by giving it a special kick. Red wines are perfect with pancetta dishes.
You can try out an interesting combination of sea and land at 2 ribara , one of Zadar’s oldest restaurants. Alongside a great deal of other fish delicacies, you just have to taste the house specialty – monkfish medallions wrapped in Dalmatian pancetta with Dalmatian-style chard as the side dish.
Restaurant Gallo is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Croatian National Theatre in downtown Zagreb. The dish selection enthralled Michelin inspectors who included it on their map of Croatian restaurants you should visit. We suggest you try the chef’s beefsteak when you pay a visit to Gallo Restaurant. The beefsteak is wrapped in Dalamatian pancetta and served on a bed consisting of Grana Padano and toasted pine nuts risotto and reduced balsamic vinegar sauce.
At the exclusive restaurant in the namesake Hotel Meneghetti they prepare tagliolini with Istrian pancetta, Parmesan cheese, ombolo (pork chop meat), egg emulsion and foie gras. This wine hotel is located in the vicinity of Rovinj and Pula, close to Bale. A perfect vacation is made even better considering their phenomenal homemade wines made from local Istrian grape varieties. The food is second to none and this has been corroborated by Michelin’s Gault & Millau Guide.