Ciccioli is essentially a food made from pig fat. The meat cut is also used in various preparations as an important ingredient. Traditionally, the food belongs to the Italian district of Emilia Romagna. It is also popular in other parts of northern and central Italy. Over the years, the ingredient has gained popularity and is used in other parts of the world as well. Mostly, however, it is popular in the regions of Parma, Bologna, Romagna and Modena.
Production of Cicciolis
In essence, the food is made from drying, aging fatty left over pork pieces that are compressed. The scraps are compressed with the help of a special press wherein the meat is wrapped in a sack cloth and then squeezed very slowly over several weeks. This removes the excess liquid and the fatty leftovers are, after some weeks, completely dry.
The fact that the food is made from pieces that are left behind after most of the 'good' parts of pig have been taken away makes it unappetizing for many. The taste of the prepared food, however, is quite delectable and often compared to more tender and gourmet cuts of pig that are often an expensive buy.
Varieties of the Ciccioli
Cicciolis basically comes in two varieties - one is the regular, unattributed version, that is sliced before it is eaten. The second variety is the ciccioli frolli, also referred to as greppole. This variant is often subjected to more drying and compressing which make it a very crunchy snack.
Both varieties of the food are consumed as a snack and also used in preparation of various stews, soups, salads, casseroles, etc.
Popular Italian Ciccioli Recipe
Frolli Greaves is a popular Italian, specifically Emilian, delicacy made with Ciccioli. The food first originated as the staple of the poor but its taste led to its widespread popularity that is seen across Italy in today's times. Frolli Greaves is popular as an appetizer, snack and even a part of the main course menu. The recipe can be prepared with readymade cicciolis or the same can be made at home first and then used to make a more elaborate dish.
Due to the nature of preparation and the parts used, Cicciolis have a very high content of cholesterol. This has led to a little decline in the meat food’s popularity. While some companies are trying to come up with a healthier version, attempts have been unsuccessful till now.