Many cuisines have a host of dishes using bacon and salted pork, and a few using whole chunks of it. In Italy I found wild boar bacon. Around the corner from the villa where I stay in Chiesanouva (outside Florence) is a perfect tiny shop. It has everything, but two things that get me up in the cold autumn mornings are thin focaccia, right out of the wood oven and covered in wild boar pancetta.

Here is the lunch I recently cooked in Tuscany for friends from California and England:

  • Smoked salmon
  • Hot hard-boiled eggs with black truffle sauce
  • Roast chicken (gallo) and collo de gallo (stuffed cock’s neck and head with comb)
  • Fresh cannellini, cipollini, and pancetta of wild boar
  • Grilled fresh porcini (boletus)
  • Pecorino fresca and stagione
  • Torta di nonna
  • Biscotti with Vin Santo

The wild boar dish took the prize, and if you cannot get wild boar bacon, the dish is still delicious using a slab of apple-wood smoked bacon (perhaps nitrate-free), or a chunk of lightly salted pork belly.