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Guanciale ageing

Guanciale is a kind of unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek.

Pork cheek is rubbed with salt, ground black pepper or red pepper and cured for three weeks. Its flavour is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate.

Guanciale is traditionally used in dishes like Pasta all'amatriciana and spaghetti alla carbonara. It is a delicacy of Central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio.

Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, can be used as a substitute when guanciale is not available, with slightly varying results.

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