This is one of those foods where it’s not 1 + 1 = 2. It’s more like 1 + 1 = 200.
Lardo is the cured fat (perhaps with a tiny string of meat attached) popular in Northern Italy. Bellota refers to Ibérico Bellota cured pork, the famed meat of heirloom Spanish hogs who eat a diet of acorns during their final autumn months. The key to the math here is the acorn—bellota, bay-O-ta, in Spanish. A diet of acorns has a magical effect on pig fat. It flavors and softens it, making it nearly liquid at body temperature. A piece of cured bellota ham practically melts in your mouth. Now we’ve basically gotten rid of the ham. This is nearly pure fat. Pure bellota fat. See what I’m getting at?
Last summer I spent time with the importer, Herb Eckhouse from La Quercia, and he served me a plate of simple pasta dressed with ribbons of bellota lardo melting on top. I still remember it. It was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had.
All this said, while everyone should taste this at least once in their lives, bellota lardo is not the easiest thing to deal with. It’s big (though it’ll last months). It’s unsliced so you have to do some very careful cutting. And, like all bellota pork, it’s expensive. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to talk someone out of buying something as much as I have here but I just want you to be ready. Buying this kind of pork is a commitment. Rally some friends. Get yourselves prepared. This is going to be a wild ride.