Cochon & Charcuterie: Workshops from Gascony

February 10, 2011

Cochon & Charcuterie- a workshop with Gascon farmer/butcher Dominique Chapolard

and American cook/teacher Kate Hill of the Kitchen-at-Camont.


In Gascony where Chapolard farms and Hill teaches at her 18th century Kitchen-at-Camont, good pork, duck, lamb and beef provide the backbone of classic charcuterie. Kate and Dominique are bringing their savoir-faire and love for this good Gascon food on tour to America with Cochon & Charcuterie: a workshop from Gascony to demonstrate the intricate art of butchering traditional French pork cuts for the preparation of authentic charcuterie. Professionals, cooks, food lovers and Charcutepalooza’ers will learn the basics of traditional French seam butchery and authentic charcuterie from these two passionate teachers and their welcoming hosts.

Cochon & Charcuterie full day workshops are scheduled in two locations on the East Coast- Stonyman Gourmet Farmer near Little Washington, VA and Claddagh Farms Cookery School near Belfast Maine; two half-day workshops are scheduled at The Herbfarm in Woodenville WA near Seattle, an evening workshop at the Portland Meat Collective in PDX created by former student Camas Davis in Portland Oregon and a Special XL version 2 -day workshop at Woodberry Kitchens in Baltimore. Links to the individual workshops are posted below and links will be lit as they go live:

March  14 & 15 9:00 am -1:30 pm     The French PIG: the elegance of the cut- The Herbfarm Restaurant Woodenville WA.

March 16 4:00- 8:00 pm                       Working with the Master- Portland Meat Collective- Portland OR location TBA

March 18 9:30am -5:00 pm                 Seed to Sausage Charcuterie- Claddagh Farms Cookery School (aka Podchef Farms), Montville ME (Special 10% Discount available for official Charcutepalooza participants)

March 20 9:30 am-1:00 pm or 9 am – 5 pm                The French PIG: glorious Gascony comes to  Stonyman Gourmet Farmer Little Washington VA

March 21 & 22                                            Two day XL Workshop  Mon 2pm -9pm, Tues 9 am-4 pm  Woodberry Kitchens Baltimore MD

In the half day workshops, Dominique demonstrates, using seam butchery method, the breaking down of half of a pig, a farm-raised fully-mature animal, into premium French cuts. Kate and Dominique then transform some of these basic cuts using traditional recipes- a repertoire of authentic Gascon charcuterie recipes using only salt and pepper, curing, and storage techniques. In this workshop you will learn to make and cure: ventrèche (pancetta), coppa, noix de jambon (a specialty cut of the Chapolards) and other whole muscle charcuterie.

The full-day workshop begins in the morning focusing on seam butchery and a hands-on option devoted to learning  the important anatomy, knife skills, professional techniques, meat hygiene, and skills to safely butcher a whole farm-raised pig in the French manner. During the Tasting Lunch, prepared under Kate’s expert guidance, we’ll talk about French full-circle farming as the Chapolards practice in Gascony. We call it Seed-to-Sausage farming. The afternoon we will transform the charcuterie cuts into traditional terrines, patés, ventrèche, poitrine salée, coppa, jambon and filet sec. We will also prepare the head for tete de fromage and other cooked charcuterie. In the full day workshop we will explore the four corners of charcuterie: cooked, salted, cured and  dried.

photo By Ron Zimmerman- taken at The Herbfarm

…As soon as he made the first cut, the whole class shut up. Not a word. After a couple of minutes I realized I had my mouth wide open. I wasn’t the only one. Dominique’s skill with a knife was honestly like nothing I had ever seen…” Matt Wright

Team Camont: From the Kitchen-at-Camont in Southwest France come two of our valued teachers. Kate Hill created the Kitchen at-Camont as a culinary retreat on the foundation of an 18th century Gascon farm. She teaches and organizes year-round programs, writes and blogs about her “artisan life’. Dominique sells Kate great fresh pork and charcuterie every week at the market. Over 15 years of good pork, they became friends and now teach these travelling workshops to share their love of all things Gascon, especially its Cochon & Charcuterie.

Dominique Chapolard, along with his 3 farmer/butcherbrothers and their wives, prepare eight to ten of their own farm-raised Large White/Pietrain/Duroc pigs each week. Fifty-two weeks of the year. 500 pigs. That’s a lot of charcuterie. Dedicated to the l’Art du Cochon on their small farm near Mezin, France, the Chapolard family grows all the grain and seed that the pigs eat for their entire 12-month-old life. Each week the humanely killed pigs are transformed into fresh cuts (roti, cotelettes, jambon, jarret, etc.) and charcuterie cuts (jambon, coppa, filet, tete, saucisson etc.) to sell at four weekly markets. All their charcuterie is cured using the time-honored traditions of just salt & pepper, smoke and time.

Kate Hill is a great cook, a patient teacher, a lyrical writer and the founder of the Kitchen-at-Camont. Since 1990 Kate has moored her Dutch canal barge at the foot of this historic French farmhouse, while patiently transforming a nettle infested and bramble covered hectare into a trio of organic gardens. A towering pigeonnier became a guest house, its piggery transformed into a pantry, and the two meter wide fireplace defined the ultimate Gascon kitchen.

Kate acquired her deep knowledge of Gascon cuisine from her friends and neighbors in France- the artisan food producers. Today, when she’s not tending bees or chickens, or weeding her vegetable garden, she’s guiding a novice’s hand in the kitchen, rolling out a buttery pie crust for guests, or challenging visiting chefs to explore beyond the kitchen’s walls and into the fertile Gascon countryside. An accomplished cook and teacher Kate has studied traditional and authentic Gascon cooking, home butchery and charcuterie for over two decades.

Kitchen-at-Camont presents Cochon & Charcuterie, a workshop in traditional French techniques and savoir-faire.

What others say:

Michael Ruhlman: http://ruhlman.com/2010/04/the-saving-graces-of-pigs-and-charcuterie.html/comment-page-1

Matt Wright: http://mattikaarts.com/blog/charcuterie/the-pork-pate-the-french-butcher-the-pig/

Hank Shaw: http://honest-food.net/2010/04/26/humbling-win-humbling-experience/

Camas Davis of Portland Meat Collective: http://ladebrouillard.com/?p=238

Chez US: http://www.chezus.com/traveling/charcuterie/

For more information contact: katehill at email dot com.

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