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Sep 27, 2010 01:39 PM


Anyone know where to get guanciale in Calgary or Alberta in general? I've asked the deli people at a few Italian markets and they have no idea what it is, and I asked at one of the pork purveyors at the Calgary Farmer's Market and got a nonsensical response. I used to get it at AJ Ferrari's in Northern California pretty readily, and it doesn't seem like it should be hard to find. But I want to see if its available here before I do my own.

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  1. You could try the Italian Center in Edmonton...

    1. I'm experiencing the same problem in Winnipeg. Most Italians in Canada (or at least the prairies) don't seem to be from central Italy, so they don't know guanciale and Italian provisions stores don't stock it. Italian food appears to suffer similar regional biases as Chinese. ;-)

      You could try visiting a "real" Italian restaurant in Calgary, and see if they have access to guanciale. A place serving pasta all'amatriciana or carbonara may just have some that they're willing to sell you or have a source. Unfortunately for me, Winnipeg restaurants settle on using pancetta, so no guanciale for me. (Unless I make my own, like you might--if you do, don't forget the juniper berries!)

      I was also thinking of asking a restaurant that has its own curing locker (there are two in Winnipeg, so there must be some in Calgary, too) if they might make guanciale and sell me some. Haven't tried it, yet, but it might work for you!

      4 Replies
      1. re: prasantrin

        The last time I picked it up was from Vancouver at Granville Island. I've have yet to see it here in Calgary.

          1. re: prasantrin

            You might want to try Jowl Bacon,( same cut of the pig) Even though it is smoked not just cured it does approximate the taste and texture of Guanciale.

            1. re: prasantrin

              I honestly don't remember now but it was a butcher/deli at the market in a corner stall. They were hanging from the counter roof on a hook. They had tons of deli meats and it was very busy so it was a popular counter.

        1. I've seen guanciale in the past at The Italian Store (next to Scarpone's; on the NE corner of Deerfoot & McKnight). I haven't paid attention in the immediate past, but at that time it was prepackaged (not in the deli case). I noted it because I had a Bastianich recipe that called for it. Good luck!

          The Italian Store
          5140 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6V1, CA

          8 Replies
          1. re: nutellaluvr

            Has anyone had any luck finding a source for this in Calgary or Edmonton? After a recent visit to Italy it is on my list to purchase.

            1. re: cleopatra999

              Funny you should ask: I ran across it on the menu at Bonterra on Saturday. Does anyone know where they might get it?

              1. re: edgrover

                Haven't found it in Calgary, but it is easy to make, provided you have a good place to hang it. Our basement works well.
                Red Deer Lake Meat will sell jowls, just call a few days in advance and order. Sofritto at Canyon Meadows and MacLeod has curing salt.

                1. re: Scary Bill

                  thank SB, we have a basement that would work well too. Do you have a recipe you could send off?

                  1. re: cleopatra999


                    If you plan on making more charcuterie than just guanciale, I suggest you pick up a copy of Charcuterie by Ruhlman & Polcyn. I've made a few things from the book which have worked out well.

                    Make sure your basement air is reasonably dry, has a fairly constant cool temperature and some air flow. We are in a newer home in the far SW with an unfinished basement, and it has been a good environment.

                    1. re: Scary Bill

                      thanks SB, I really only want it for Carbonara LOL!! But I am sure I would find other uses too.

              2. re: cleopatra999

                Italian Centre in Edmonton carries it (southside location anyways). It is in the same section with fresh Italian sausage, chorizo, etc. to the left of the main deli area.

                There is only one available size and it seemed pretty big to me. Covered in a thick rind of fat...if you are meant to cut this off before use, the portion size may make a bit more sense.

                It's sourced out of an Italian cured meats supplier from Hamilton Ontario.

                1. re: egon61

                  I will have to check that out when I am up in Edmonton in the Summer, thanks!!

            2. The problem with Guanciale's availability is that the major meat distributors don't carry it or produce it because of the relative non-demand for the product. As it becomes more of an in demand item for chefs to use on their menu's, the meat suppliers will no doubt begin to list it. As it stands right now, there are strict federal laws governing the production of some products. Certain cuts of pork and beef, specifically specialty and offal products, as well as cuts that are close to the spine and brains of the animals simply are not produced in facilities that are federally inspected. There are some meat specialty suppliers who theoretically could carry and/or produce guanciale, because they are only subjected to Provincial inspection, but this of course comes back to the issue of demand for this relatively niche product.I do know however of no less than 4 restaurants in Calgary who are usung or have recently used guanciale. They are: Divino, Dolce Sapori, Charcut and Bonterra. All of these chefs are approchable individuals who would no doubt be helpful with suggestions. Charcut definitely makes their own guanciale, with the jowls being supplied by either Broek Pork acres or another local, small production pork producer. The others? Not sure....but hopefully this helps your search.

              1. I've actually been after this myself for some time. I was served it at Divino and asked them where they got it. They - and probably some of the other restaurants - get it from Rocky Mountain Game Meats ( Unfortunately, they do not sell to individuals.

                I was talking to the nice people at the cookbook company yesterday about it. They actually carry some of the Rocky Mountain Game Meats products. They don't want to carry too may types as they don't sell much. However, they were going to inquire what the minimum order is and will get back to me soon.

                So if we can get enough food enthousiasts together, they can definitely special order it for us. And if we could buy it from them on a regular basis, perhaps they start carrying it as a base product?

                Who's in?

                (first post - apologies if I violated some of the rules here).

                11 Replies
                1. re: juanluca

                  I would be in, but I don't live in town, but come every 2-3 months.

                  1. re: juanluca

                    I'd be in. I tried to secure some in Calgary a year or two ago and came up with nada.

                    Amatriciana and carbonara here I come!

                    1. re: juanluca

                      For clarification - I noticed I forgot to mention that I live in Calgary and that's where the Cookbook company is located as well. It's great that it's available in Edmonton, but that's a bit too long a drive for me just to get guanciale :P

                      1. re: juanluca

                        Did you ever hear back about what the minimum order would be?

                        1. re: cleopatra999

                          I'm guessing it would be one jowl. (one side)

                          1. re: Scary Bill

                            perhaps I am not visualizing properly, but that doesn't actually seem like a very large amount.

                            1. re: cleopatra999

                              Nosing around on the web, I found this recipe which calls for 1kg of jowl.
                              If you scroll down a bit there is a picture of a woman holding a jowl (pre-curing) which looks fairly sizeable.
                              Of course her head might just be tiny ;-)

                              1. re: cleopatra999

                                Vac-packs nicely. There may be several in a case though - depends how much they'll break the case down.

                                1. re: Scary Bill

                                  one kilo would be totally fine, could use some and freeze some, I would have no problems using that up.

                            2. re: cleopatra999

                              No, not yet, but it was only last Monday that I visited them. I'll contact them next week if I haven't heard. And I'll post the info here, of course ;-)

                              1. re: juanluca

                                look forward to hearing, thanks for trying to organize!