Guanciale is an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, the Italian word for ‘cheek’.
Guanciale may be cut and eaten directly in small portions, but is often used as an ingredient in pasta dishes such as spaghetti alla carbonara and sauces like sugo all’amatriciana.
It is a specialty of central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, is sometimes used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.