Enjoy the Typical Flavour

South Tyrolean Speck looks back on an ancient tradition

The term “speck” first appears in Tyrol’s history in documents dated back to the 18th century. However, the word was first used under different names and definitions in the trade registers and butchers’ ordinance as far back as the year 1200. The term has its roots in the Middle High German word “spec” and the Ancient High German word “spek” and actually translates into “something thick, fat.”


South Tyrol’s history documents that South Tyrolean farmers originally cured speck to preserve the meat. The ham was intended for home consumption. Traditionally, pigs were slaughtered during the Christmas Season. The production of speck ensured that farmer’s had a supply of preserved meat for the entire year. The ham recipe was carefully guarded and handed down from generation to generation. The ancestral seasoning secrets from more than 100 years ago still give the speck its typical taste today.

Speck Alto Adige is in no way related to the standard fatty pork belly speck described by the common German term. Speck is the result of a combination of two methods used to preserve meat: the standard Mediterranean style curing process for raw ham and smoking, which is a process typically used in Northern Europe. As a result, a unique South Tyrolean ham was created based on the traditional rule “a little salt, a little smoke and a lot of fresh air.” Speck is an ingredient used in numerous typical South Tyrolean dishes, such as the South Tyrolean Speck Dumplings. In South Tyrol, this ham paired with bread and wine, is the main component in the genuine “Marende” – the typical South Tyrolean snack platter. Over the centuries, Speck Alto Adige has been continually upgraded and is now considered a star ingredient by many award-winning chefs.

To celebrate a piece of South Tyrol's history, Naturns hosts the South Tyrolean Speck Day every spring, and in the autumn, the South Tyrolean Speck Festival takes place at Kronplatz.


Genuine Speck, typically South Tyrolean

It has been smoked according to an ancient family recipe for generations


The typical flavour profile of Speck Alto Adige PGI should first and foremost be attributed to its South Tyrolean roots. This is a place where Alpine and Mediterranean cultures meld in a unique way and it is the only place where nature provides such an extraordinary climate, boasting lots of sunshine and pure air. South Tyrol may be a tiny part of the world, but it delivers amazing delights and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. This northernmost province of Italy combines Mediterranean weather with Alpine landscapes and a rustic, laid-back way of life. Against the breath taking, beautiful backdrop of the mountains, the people of South Tyrol have been producing their typical ham for centuries and they still celebrate the true speck culture.

What makes Speck Alto Adige PGI so unique is the passion and dedication of the South Tyrolean artisans who still produce their speck in the traditional manner. While ham is preserved through smoking techniques north of the Alps and air dried in the south, the South Tyroleans have combined both methods to create their typical Speck Alto Adige: lightly smoked and cured in the fresh mountain air; in keeping with ancient farmers’ traditions. Speck from South Tyrol makes the local farmhouses its home. Nowadays, modern methods are used to season, smoke and cure the speck, but everything is still based on the ancient family recipe, which is being passed down from generation to generation. This will ensure that the tradition of Speck Alto Adige PGI will retain the highest levels of quality.

Eating the fine smoked ham on its own is a true joy for the human palate. However, Speck Alto Adige PGI is one of the key ingredients in typical South Tyrolean recipes, such as the very popular Speck Dumplings. Nonetheless, Speck Alto Adige also has established itself as a star ingredient used by many award-winning chefs. Speck Alto Adige PGI – typically South Tyrolean.