Berwickshire based Hammond Charcuterie and respected pig consultant and author Linda McDonald-Brown are about to shatter the myths surrounding charcuterie, running comprehensive weekend courses for women in the art of charcuterie.
Charcuterie is the generic name for the preserving of meat using traditional methods, and in some form it has been around for thousands of years. Popular on the continent, it has recently undergone a renaissance in the UK, appearing on celebrity cook programmes such as River Cottage and Jimmy and Jamie’s Friday Night Feast on Channel 4, helping it to become one of the biggest trends in foodie culture this year.
Up to now producing charcuterie has been very much the domain of men, but Rachel Hammond, the UK’s only professional female charcutier and owner of Hammond Charcuterie based in Eyemouth is now proving you don’t have to be big and butch or have years of practice with knife skills to begin preserving your own cuts at home.
The course begins on the Saturday with a hands on introduction to traditional pig breeds from piglets up to 7ft long adults. Throughout the day under the guidance of Linda McDonald-Brown, author of books Choosing and Keeping Pigs, and Pigs for the Freezer, a Smallholders’ Guide, students will have the chance to handle these magnificent breeds, gain practical experience and learn exactly what is entailed in keeping a couple of pigs for charcuterie, in a fun and informal way.
Sunday’s event is spent in the kitchen discovering the best of the European charcuterie cuts and learning with a hands on approach practical techniques to break-down and cut a carcass for yourself. Salting, curing, air-drying and smoking are all covered and at the end of the day, students will go home with bacon, lonza and chorizo to dry at home. The emphasis is on safety and maximizing the products from one carcass, classes are an informal and friendly way, and flex to the needs of each student.
Whether you want to rear your own animals or are just simply curious, this course covers everything you need to know from producing the pigs to giving you the skills and confidence to have a go at curing at home.
The weekend courses begin in March. Mixed sex courses as well as charcuterie days only are also available. Lunch is provided on each day and is made up of our own charcuterie, local bread and local cheeses.