French Butchery & Charcuterie Course Part One: Discover the foundations of Old World flavor and New World techniques for safe meat preserving. New to the game? Or want to brush up your skills? This foundation course for beginners-chefs, home cooks, and farmers- is for students who want to understand and practice the first steps of making charcuterie. This 5 day program is a thorough and immersive hands-on program unique in Europe.
Here in France, we teach traditional Old World butchery and charcuterie integrated with New World food safety concerns. This introductory course takes place in rural France, where amazing flavor, high quality, and long traditions inform the content we teach. We focus on understanding the underlying principles and learning the simple techniques of salt curing, whole muscle, and cooked charcuterie. Part One covers the basics of whole carcass butchery- poultry to pork and defining French charcuterie. Designed as a stand alone course, this week is a perfect application for those seeking confidence in knife skills, measurement, time and preserving of pork and poultry. Part One may be paired with Part Two- advanced whole carcass butchery with HACCP certification, for a more intensive and complete experience. All courses are offered in English.
100% Hands-on and Immersive in culture and techniques = 30 hours of instruction
We define charcuterie as traditional, added value pork products for farm and home use. To understand and gain experience in salting and curing, confiting and canning using a 6-inch boning knife and a handsaw. Over 5 days each student will taste and transform quality meat and poultry into French farmstead charcuterie products including: noix de jambon, paté, fresh saucisse de Toulouse, duck confit, etc. We focus on a simple catalogue of good products that you can duplicate at home; at the end of the week, the student should understand the foundation of basic butchery and approach for charcuterie as well as having created each of these products. The markets, butcher shops and charcuteries of Southwest France are our classroom where tasting the best products becomes part of your homework as you learn the palate of meat, salt, and time.
We work primarily with duck and pork while learning basic butchery knife skills and an overview of European seam butchery. We define the meat cuts by charcuterie use and muscle group- loin for filet sec, collar for coppa curing, belly for ventrêche and poitrine fumée (French bacon), leg for jambon and noix de jambon, shoulder for saucisse, etc.
Shopping some of Nerac’s six butcher and charcuterie shops will inspire you to create your own cured goods in the French style. By week’s end, you will have discovered the art of French butchery and understand traditional artisan charcuterie recipes, both cooked and cured, that you can replicate in your kitchen. You will leave with a sampling of house made charcuterie and understanding the foundation for creating traditional artisan charcuterie at home.
Each product is accompanied by the published “Trade Secrets” which includes:
- process flow diagram
- work instructions /recipes and techniques
- 30 hours of expert instruction and practice
- 6 students max
- 2 Teachers: Kate Hill, Dominique Chapolard, plus assistant
An Overview of the Charcuterie Course Week
Day 1: Gascony & the Fat Duck
Meat Gascony! Discover the countryside and small farms that are growing the grains and producing the animals that make the good meat we use. Learn why slow growth and fully mature animals are necessary for creating traditional farmstead charcuterie. Afternoon introduction to creating French charcuterie at Camont: supplies, equipment & making a home curing area. Magret séché, jambon de canard and hot smoked duck breasts begin this week of French style curing.
Day 2: Meat the French Pig + all about Salt
Morning Tour of the Chapolard Ferme Baradieu. Discover the rhythm and flow of a true Seed-to-Sausage operation and peek behind the scenes of making French charcuterie on the farm. After lunch in a village café, we return to Camont with premium Chapolard pork primals, learn about salt and salting techniques, and then create our first whole muscle curing for coppa, noix de jambon and filets secs.
Day 3: To Market to Market to buy… and then cook.
Morning market crawl to discover the way the French really shop, meet the local butchers, and stock our own lunch basket. In the afternoon we return to Camont to continue exploring the cooked side of charcuterie: terrines, patés and savoury meat pies.
Day 4: In the Butcher’s Shop at Baradieu.
Back to the farm where we spend the entire day with Dominique, learning how he breaks down a carcass – charcuterie style and discovering the secrets to curing saucisson, saucisse seche and other air-dried meats on the farm.
Day 5: Filling the Larder-at-Camont. Confit, rillettes & other meat preserves.
Working in the new Kitchen-at-Camont, we continue to understand more about preserved food by learning the traditional methods of confit and preserving meat in glass jars. Kate teaches you her methods for creating a well-stocked meat pantry of prepared charcuterie from confited sausage and duck legs to jars of succulent cassoulet and civets- the ultimate French fast food.
€2750 per person includes: five days of classes (Mon-Fri 9:30- 5:00), all materials and fees, lunches with wine, and transportation for excursions and fees. Please note: dinners and accommodation aren’t included; we help arrange good local accommodation nearby.