Remember when I tried to get to SpeckFest 2011 and failed miserably? Well, I had my very own version of SpeckFest right here in Lombardy!

Invited by my very best friend in Monza (also known as my Italian little sister), I had Sunday Lunch with my Italian Family (yet another unofficial adoption- I absolutely love when good friends turn into family). When we approached the door I said, “Do they know I’m coming?” Chiara just shrugged her shoulders and we walked in. After hugs and kisses, we invaded the kitchen to checkout what Papa GianMario (Head Chef) and Mama Antonella (Head Baker) had prepared for lunch.

We found freshly sliced speck, canederli (dumplings) on the stove, and two apple strudels in the oven! I shrieked, “OMG, it’s an Alto-Adige Lunch!!!!!”

“Alto-Adige? Say what?”

Alto-Adige is in Northern Italy, located between Lombardy and Veneto with heavy influences in their cuisine from bordering countries (remember when I mentioned this in the apple strudel post?). Known to use apples, mushrooms, and cured-smoked ham in many of their dishes, Alto-Adige has a strong reputation for their hearty cuisine.

Most popular item in the region?

It's not bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto... it's speck!

Speck: My absolute-favorite cured ham. Different from popular favorite, Prosciutto Crudo (which is also pretty awesome), Speck Alto-Adige is a dry-cured ham, smoked with juniper over a wood fire, and cured for 20-24 weeks.

Speck is served in a variety of ways. I will eat it whether it’s cut in cubes or slices…

Cubes of Speck

Speck Slices

cooked with pasta…

Pasta with Speck & Pumpkin Sauce

on my pizza…

Pizza with Speck & Pecorino

or mixed in with dumplings known as canederli…

Canederli with Speck

That’s right friends, Papa GianMario and Mama Antonella made homemade canederli… and guess what, they’re sharing the family secret with you! BTW… it’s a great recipe to use when you have stale bread.

Homemade Canederli

Cooking Canederli in Broth

Canederli Allo Speck

Serves: 15 Canederli (Dumplings)


  • 500g Stale White Bread in Cubes
  • 150g Cubes of Speck
  • 1 Onion (use as much or as little as you want)
  • 1 Glass of Milk
  • 3 Spoonfuls of Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Optional: Chives
  1. Soak bread (cubes) in milk to make it soft.
  2. Lightly pan fry speck and onions in olive oil.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  4. Roll into balls.
  5. Optional: Refrigerate overnight to keep the shape.
  6. Boil your favorite broth.
  7. Cook the canederli until they rise to the top! (Cooking time depends on the size of the canederli… if you make them very big, it might take a maximum of 15 minutes. To be sure that they’re cooked, just cut one open after it floats to the top to see if they’ve cooked through)!
  8. Eat and enjoy!
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