I used guanciale in my carbonara last night for the first time. Maybe my pallet isn't refined enough but I am not sure I could discern a difference between it and the pancetta I buy. And if I did, I would think it had more to do with the way it was cured/seasoned vs the actual difference in meat taste. Actually this guanciale was heavy seasoned, to include a ton of rosemary however it seemed most of this cooked off. My butcher tells me the fat content is pretty much the same between the two so that can't be the difference (at least according to him).
I read on some websites that guanciale is suppose to be a million times better than pancetta but I just didn't experience that last night. Perhaps the million times better part is the chef thinking his/her dish is using an often not found ingredient and therefore it must be better.
Am I missing something relative to the taste of guanciale?
By the way, I used to be a pancetta snob when it came to my carbonara. However recently I didn't have any and didn't feel like running to the store. I did have slab bacon (which is a million times better than sliced bacon) so used that. I have to say that while I will always strive to use pancetta (or guanciale) in my carbonara, the slab bacon wasn't bad at all.