What about Heinrich?
A few Kilometres before reaching San Pancrazio, a small town up in a valley near Bolzano, we turn right onto a small unpaved road and climb up along a steep path, surrounded by vineyards on one side and evergreen trees on the other. We pass a house and ask a man if he knows where Mr Poeder lives, he tells us to continue until the end of the road. We then follow all the way up the hill until we reach a house in typical alpine style.
Out all of the Specks produced in Italy, Gambero Rosso awarded only one producer as exceptional , and the man producing it is now in front of us.
Gray hair, beard and mustache, and a clever and piercing look, Heinrich welcomes me. He is clearly more fluent in German than Italian, yet he kindly tries his best to search for all words in Italian.
All the products are prepared in rooms and cellars built around the house. He shows us first the refrigerated area, where products are smoked and ripened with controlled temperature and humidity. “You obviously start from an amazing quality of meat. Then the right type of wood is key to obtaining the perfect flavours”, Heinrich mentions proudly looking at a stack of wood next to the smoking chamber. “But you need to get everything else right as well”, he says thoughtfully and then continues explaining how humidity, temperature and length of the curing process have been refined years over years.
Entering his cellar is a real treat: a true cathedral of curated meats, where sauces, pancetta, and speck of different size and flavour hang orderly as natural stalactites.
Heinrich does not sell to online shops, as he does not like the distance it creates from consumers. But he agreed to work with us because he believes our approach can help producers like him find a larger audience of food lovers who can recognize how special his products are.