Remember that old joke about the three-legged pig? There are a thousand variations on the location, characters and punchline. My own goes like this:
A Novice American Butcher was wandering through the bucolic landscapes of Southwest France looking for a Charcuterie Farm. He spots a Frenchman with a large suitcase and a cleaver in a field. Behind the beret-sporting Charcutier is a very Large White Pig with a Yorkshire accent with just three legs.
“Pardon monsieur,” the heavily tattooed NAB (Novice American Butcher) asked, ‘but why does your Cochon have only three legs?”
” That’s a sad story! This Pig was a rock star in a previous life and fell off a Bar while having a glass of chilled Rosé. When he came to, the bar was snacking on jambon and the Iron Chef was singing ” A pig this good, you can’t eat all at once!”
Ok, I managed to get most of the old joke in there while exposing the new. In this week’s article on Rock Star Butchery at Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/food/feature/2010/03/11/rock_star_butcher_parties/index.html, two butchers duke it out about what’s trend versus progress and whether Bar Butchery is a joke like a three-legged pig.
I’ve finished rolling my eyes and washing off my crackerjack P.I.G. tattoos from my knuckles. I listen for the glimmer of hope at the end of the article when Ryann Farr of 4505 Meat in SFO says:
“I have the utmost respect for anything that I handle, be it a whole hog or a vegetable that came out of the ground, because I know the farmers and I know the ranchers,” Farr says. And to him, the parties fill a gap in the public’s relationship with meat — getting to know their butcher.”
So let me introduce you to my butchers- all 6 of them- collectively known as the Chapolards.
I don’t want to sound too preachy, but let me get on my high Gascon horse long enough to tell you that if you are serious about learning where your meat comes from, who butchers it, and who prepares it and if you would like to meet a French artisan butcher/pork producer who grows all the wheat, barley, corn and sunflower seeds that he feeds his pigs, then slaughters the animals in a cooperative run abbatoir, then butchers the carcasses, then makes the sausage, then cures the charcuterie, cooks the pates, hams and pate de tete and THEN sells it all to his loyal customers four times a week at local village farmers markets, year in and year out, rain & sun, winter cold & summer heat… then come join us in April as Dominique Chapolard, representing the whole Chapolard clan at the Ferme Baradieu, and I introduce you to the “French PIG- butcher & cook” in a series of Four very limited edition workshops in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
April 16-Friday. Napa, CA. Hosted by Artisan Food School at the Fatted Calf, Oxbow Public Market
- French Charcuterie Cuts and Seam Butchering- Evening Participatory Demonstration Workshop 6-10pm including an Artisan Pork Tasting and discussion with Carrie Oliver. $195
April 17- Saturday. Sonoma Valley, CA. Hosted by Kathleen Kelley of Kelley & Young Wines
- French Cuts & Seam Butchering & Authentic Charcuterie- Full Day Hands-on Workshop & Wine Dinner. including charcuterie lunch and PINK: Porc & Rosé Tasting Dinner with Carrie Oliver of the Artisan Beef Institute. $395
April 25- Sunday. Portland OR. Sponsored by the Portland Meat Collective at Robert Reynolds’ Chefs Studio.
- “Defining French Cuts for Charcuterie and the Kitchen” Half-day Hands-On Workshop $250
April 26- Monday. Woodinville, WA Hosted by The Herb Farm Restaurant
- French Cuts & Seam Butchering & Authentic Charcuterie- Full Day Hands-on Workshop including Lunch half day and full day possible- $150-$395 book here: http://theherbfarmfrenchpig.eventbrite.com/
For more information email: kitchen-at-camont (at) email (dot) com or leave a comment below. Spaces are limited and so are the pigs…
Photo credits to Mister Tim Clinch courtesy of a creative collaboration Clinch-Hill.com