Essentially, it is lard, with large streaks of lean in it. The outside of the ham is a golden brown. The lean meat inside it comes out a brownish-red colour; the fat portions are white.
It has a slightly spicy, smoky and salty taste.
A green tag indicates “artisanal made” by a farmer; a red tag indicates made by a commercial producer.
The pigs used can be of the following breeds: landrace, Large White Pigs, Duroc, or crosses between the Large White Pigs and the landrace pig. The pigs must be raised either in the Gail valley, or in the area known as Carinthie. It can be made in the following communities in the south-east corner of Austria: Kötschach-Mauthen, Dellach, Kirchbach, Gitschal, Hermagor, St Stefan im Gailtal, Nötsch im Gailtal, Feistritz an der Gail and Hohenthurn.
The meat is dry-salted, and pressed, then marinated in brine with pepper, garlic, spices and herbs for about 4 weeks between 39 to 50 F (4 and 10 C.) Then it is hung to dry, and cold-smoked with smoke from beech and elder. During smoking, it is taken out several times into fresh air.
Then it is aged in rooms with a humidity between 60 and 80%, at a temperature between 46 and 61 F (8 and 16 C), for between 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the size of the piece being aged.
The speck received its European PGI status in July 2002.
A “Gailtaler Speckfest” has been held every June since 1992 in Gailtal and in Hermagor.
EU Ref # 2001/C 327/04, 22 November 2001.
Gailtaler Producer’s site, accessed February 2007.