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Preview: Savoring the Whole Hog- an Old World view.

The Whole Old World View

Judy Witts & Kate Hill share a passion for authentic food arts from Italy and France. They started this journal of Old World Charcuterie in 2006.

Updated: 2018-03-06T16:32:22.029+01:00


Call it Boston Butt, Coppa, Echine. It's Delicious!


My favorite cut of pork is easy to define- that group of muscles that sit on top of the shoulder blade and connect the head to the loin- the neck muscles. Like lamb collar and beef chuck, this is a cut of meat that begs for roasting, braising or bbq-ing. For Sunday Supper at Camont, I used a small échine, about 1.5 kilogram, from a Black Gascon pig- marketed as Noir de Bigorre here in France. These outdoor reared pigs are an Iberian breed and the focus of much gastronomic excited for their delicious hams and other charcuterie here in SW France.

However, there is no better way to taste test good pork than preparing a some fresh meat and tasting it tout de suite. My own method to roast is simple.

  • Generously rub course salt and freshly ground pepper all over the piece of meat 
  • Place in an open oven-proof dish and add an inch of water 
  • Put in a cold oven and then turn the oven on to 200' Celsius (420' Fahrenheit)
  • Cook for 1.5 hours then test with a meat thermometer. I continue cooking until it reaches the stage I am seeking. I usually pull at 75'C and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
To make a simple sauce inspired by the classic Sauce Robert (look it up!) I cut a couple onions in half and placed them in the water alongside the roast. Once the roast was cooked, I removed the pan juices and onions to a sauce pan, roughly chopped up the onions, and added mustard, a dash of white wine and a splash of vinegar.  Adjust the salt and pepper if needed. It's that simple- a classic pan dripping sauce made French by the classic reference to one of the 'mother sauces'.

Sometimes cooking needn't be fussy or complicated. in fact, most of the time.  This sauce would also work with a pork loin, a tenderloin or even over some pan seared chops. 

Culatello di Zibello - Italy's Precious Ham


Not all prosciutto is created equal. There is a special prosciutto, called Culatello di Zibello, which has the DOP denomination which means strict laws on how it is produced.There are thirteen producers and only about 1000 culatello's made a year.It is against the law to use refrigeration in the aging process and is easily recognized by the incredible wrapping and tying.It is made using the heart of the prosciutto, using the scraps to make a simple salami.These photographs are from a trip I organized up to the Spigaroli family farm.Kate and I are looking into creating an Italian extension to the Camont classes. Email for more informationClick HERE to see the brochure of the Spigaroli salumi.[...]

The Perfect Gift- Cinghiale


Christmas often brings silly unwanted gifts, that dumb statue, a seasonal holiday sweater or more socks. In Italy, I am blessed. Gift giving is much more practical. You never go wrong with food.Tuscany had a bad year and the olive trees were attached by a fly, which attacks the olives themselves, laying eggs and the olives cannot be made into oil. I went to Sicily in the fall and brought back olive oil and gifted to some friends.I received a huge piece of cinghiale, wild boar, from my local farm stand. Her husband is a hunter and wild boar are a problem out near where I live, so their freezer is always full.I made a simple wild boar stew, light on the tomato and ate some right away and then froze the rest in smaller packages to break out as needed.The wild boar stew is served with oven roasted black olives added to the mixture and served on polenta.I took some of the mix and minced it, leaving some pieces a tiny bit larger, and rolled in parboiled pasta sheets making cannelloini. I make mine small as an appetizer size.I then drizzled with butter and topped with grated parmesan cheese and baked.Elegant and simple.Tuscan Wild Boar StewMarinade:2 cups red wine1/2 cup red wine vinegar1 bay leaf1 sprig fresh thymeCooking:1 tbs pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)1 carrot, chopped1 onion, chopped1 celery stock, chopped3 pounds wild boar, venison, or pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes4 tbs butter or olive oil1 onion, finely chopped1 tbs pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)1 can italian san marzano tomatoes( italians use smaller amounts of tomato, the original recipe had none. But you can make this with a large or small can)If using wild game, the meat should definitely be marinated. With other meats, this step is optional but recommended.Bring the marinade to a boil and let cool.Cover the meat and let it sit in the marinade for 48 hours. Remove the meat and remove the solids from the marinade.Sauté the onion in butter or olive oil until golden. Add the meat and brown lightly. Add the rest of the ingredients, the strained marinade liquid, and cook until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed or the canned tomato.Taste and adjust seasonings.Serve with creamy polenta or on a thick slice of toasted country style bread.In another version, at the end of the cooking time, bittersweet chocolate, raisins or prunes and sugar and vinegar are added. When Columbus returned from the "new world" chocolate was introduced and added to cooking. In a sort of Tuscan Mole, bittersweet chocolate, pinenuts, prunes or raisins and sugar and vinegar are added to the tomato-less stew. Cinghiale in Dolce Forte. This version is also used for rabbit.[...]

Savoring the Whole Hog Encore


Judy Witts and I speak most mornings from our respective homes in Italy and France. With cups of café au lait and espresso in hand, we conspire and encourage each other to cook, write, and document our Old World kitchens. This morning this long lost site came up again. What to do with the "going whole hog" site 8 years on?

We both loved this little blog we started in 2006 to produce a ground breaking seminar at an IACP conference where we invited Fergus Henderson to tell his restaurant whole hog story along with our tales of French farmers and Italian butchers. We called the seminar "Saints Preserve Us- a Pig's Tale" and used this blog to start a porkcentric dialoque which led to the producing of three photographic shows including mine on a farm slaughter at my neighbors- the Sabadini's in the winter of 2004.

So as old friends do, we like to revisit the fond food memories of what we made in our homes over the years. This morning, we took another look and have renewed our vision for The Whole Old World View.

Need a little inspiration about what to cook tonight? Check out our archive here as Judy's post on Fergus' Pumpkin & Bacon Soup. Want to know more about the French and Italian pork cuts for charcuterie? Here's a Fresh Sausage Recipe from an old butcher of mine, now retired.  Spend some time to look through the years and come back to see what's new as we go into the Pig Days of Winter.

Charcutepalooza! an archive of French/Italian porky goodness


When the tide of good food starting rushing in, we all jumped for joy!
Then a meat storm happened. People were finding good farm raised products at their farmer's markets and in their CSA boxes.
Next a hurricane of butchers became 'cool' and pig tats appeared on all the wrong places.
So now, as the Salty Tsunami known as Charcutepalooza (created by the dynamic dames Kim Foster and Cathy Barrow otherwise known as The Yummy Mummy and Mrs Wheelbarrow) hits the international shores, we can say- we've been waiting for you all along! Welcome to our worlds. A world of charcuterie.

Our world is the Old World. As our banner says, we've been savoring the old world, one pig at a time for ...a while. Like a lot of you have been making hams, hang salumi, and grinding sausage longer than the trend, We- Judy Witts in Italy, and me, Kate Hill in France- began learning about this brave Old World centuries old trend when we both landed on foreign shores- about 25 years ago. We were thinner, younger...and considerably more naive.

So we invite you to look around here- a dual blog we started making while writing a conference seminar for IACP- called Saints Preserve Us- the tale of three pigs presented with Mr. Fergus Henderson, our meat mentor.

It started here: and although we both are celebrating Charcutepalooza on our own blogs with new posts- there is a lot of good food here. Explore and enjoy! and don;t hesitate to ask us questions. or start a conversation about Italy vs. France- we love to play that game!

Judy is still cooking up the best of Tuscany at
Kate is still preaching the Gascon gastronomy at

Seed to Sausage learning on the farm in France


We talk about all things pig here. We banter around those European meat terms- lardo and lardon, porchetta and jambon, guanciale and coppa like secret passwords to a private world.  But in southwest France on a small family farm, the whole hog really begins with one small seed- of corn, wheat, barley, sunflower... and thus  Seed-to-Sausage is born.

Come vote for Our Seed to Sausage video in Protein U's "who's your butcher?" contest.
Then come join us in Gascony for new Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie workshops beginning Sept 20 2010. More information is here on Kate's site- 

French PIG- the butcher & the cook April 2010


If you can't come to Gascony, La Gascogne will come to you!

Join me and Dominique Chapolard of the Ferme Baradieu, Mezin, Gascony, France
for a series of French PIG workshops to be held in mid-April in four West Coast locations:
Napa, Sonoma, Portland & Seattle. We will be cutting and cooking before and after the sold out IACP conference session in PDX on April 24.

Each of these four  French Charcuterie Cuts & Seam Butchery classes are unique:
  • Hands-on Full Day workshop w/ lunch & Porc & Rose' wine tasting dinner- Sonoma, CA
  • Evening Demonstration Charcuterie Cuts & Seam Butchery + Farm Dinner- Napa CA
  • Morning Hands-on workshop only, very limited space. Portland OR
  • Full day demonstration in seam butchery and charcuterie workshop w/ lunch- Woodinville WA sign up for The Herb Farm workshop here .
For more details on other workshops, go to . interested in a French PIG workshop near you? contact Kate Hill via the comments below.

Sweet Onion Pork Stew- l'Escadaoun- a Gascon specialty


My favorite French ‘pulled pork’ is called l'estouffade or l'escaoudoun in the Gascon patois. Tasted in a hideaway of a cafe in the Landes forest called La Croute du Pin near Reaup where it was made with the typique Noir de Gascogne pig, I re-created the dish here at Camont with most of the shoulder from Camas’ graduation pig. Once it cooked in the sweet onion sauce for a two hours, I ladled the sauce pork into large canning jars. When unannounced friends arrive for dinner, I’ll cook some Monalisa potatoes and serve them floating on an island of sweet onions pork, just like Madame did.

Recipe- for  Estouffade de Porc- l’Escaoudoun
  • 2 kilos / 4 1/2 lbs. of farm raised pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • 1 kilo of onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 soupspoons of duck fat
  • 1 bottle of sweet wine wine (jurancon or cote de gascogne)
  • 1/2 bottle madera, sherry or white port
  • 1 generous glass of armagnac
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • a large bouquet garni- lovage, bay leaf, thyme
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, a lot of it!
  • a large pick of quatre épice  (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)
The basic recipe is to cook all of the above until the onions have melted, the pork is falling apart and the flavors of the sweet wine mingle with the onion in a caramel-colored sauce.

Cut #2- Pork Shoulder basics


* credit for chart The Shoulder Cut of Pork is one of the most versatile cuts of meat in traditional Italian and French cuisine.In France, the shoulder or épaule is cooked, cured, roasted, stewed, braised and made into pâtés.A succulent shoulder roast stuffed with prunes and shallots is a classic French Sunday lunch. This summer we butchered the graduation carcass with the intent to can or cure all of the meat from half a pig. As I made a list of what to make with each cut of meat, I worried over the shoulder. The 25 pound boston butt and picnic ham is a lot of meat. (chart and pix of American cuts here) In the end,  I decided on a smothered braised recipe I had eaten in a rustic restaurant in the Landes Forest. My escaoudoun a la Croute du Pins was made from artisan French pork like this farm produces. Although the shoulder meatis fattier than some other cuts, it melts in your mouth when cooked well. Start to compare cuts in the butchers or supermarkets and then taste the differences by choosing two cuts and cooking the same dishes with both of them. The echine,high up on the shoulder makes a great roast but I prefer a braising and stewing the shoulder.Maiale-  Italian PigI wonder what Judy will make in Tuscany?  [...]

Ribs-in-Jar: french fast food


This week at Whole Hog we started with the bone gnawing questions of what do Italians and French cooks do with ribs. Judy prepared a fabulous Naples-style Ragu here that turns into a Two-Meal Miracle. I decided to make a fast and furious rib dish to share with friends- French Fast Food.What was so fast? I drove 4 kilometers to the nearest butcher (now that my 1-kilometer butcher shop has closed!)- 3 minutes. Bought the ribs- 2 minutes. Came home, cut them into single bone pieces- 6 minutes. Placed them in a large canning jar and poured marinade materials over them: a drizzle of our own honey, splash some red wine vinegar and apple juice & a generous pinch of salt and pepper- 4 minutes. Closed the jar, shaken not stirred and let rest while hanging out in the garden (read weeding!).2 hours doesn't count. Cooked the ribs over the grill with the sausage I bought for that night's dinner and then returned the ribs to the jar to store in the fridge. Then I popped open a jar of simple summer beans I had canned last week (with thyme, bay leaf and Lovage)- 30 seconds. Placed the beans in a casserole dish- 30 more seconds. And slid them into a cold over, turned on a medium heat. 30 seconds de plus! Now just wait until hot- 30 minutes and EAT!That's an easy 16 1/2 minutes of work, two hours of waiting, and 30 minutes to heat through.Fast FrenchFood.I call it Ribs-n-Jar.Not all French food takes a long time; the beans were done ahead of time one afternoon. It took me about one hour to shell and cook the fresh beans with the herbs and another 2 hour of canning time while I was doing something else (yup, weeding).Now I have three jars waiting for another fast meal.The juices of the meaty ribs runs into beans to make a rich sauce.  Beans. Ribs. What's not to like? P.S. For all you "I don't have time to cooks", Check out some of the other things I have been cooking this week at my Kitchen-at-Camont here.[...]

One Pot- Two Meals: Naples-style Pork Ragu


When Kate tossed the proverbial bone- RIBS as our Franco-Italo challenge for pork this week, I immediately remembered a rich luscious sauce I had in Naples last year at the bread festival I attended.Strangely enough the sauce is called Ragu Genovese- Genova-style sauce. The recipe is not from Genova, but it is rather frugal- as are the Genovese, using equal weight of onions to meat in the sauce. The ragu is a classic for the traditional Sunday lunch or holidays and evokes images of mamma up early at the stove with the large pot simmering away all morning filling the air with the profume of love!It is a long, slow cooked sauce which develops a deep rich flavor lost in todays fast food world.Not only is the sauce fabulous, but the technique of cooking whole pieces of meat in a tomato sauce, creates two meals from one pot of cooking.I chose the meatier thicker ribs for this recipe, leaving them in large pieces, which can be then cut for serving.Salsa alla Genoveseinspired by Favurite- Renato RutiglianoThe traditional recipe often uses a whole piece of beef, a potroast. I have found many families use various cuts of pork, ribs, sausages and or necks to enrich this sauce.2 pound/ 1 kg pork ribs2 carrots1 celery stalk3 pounds of onions ( I used the local red onions)2 cups white wine1/2 cup olive oil4 tbs butter4 tbs lard2 ounces pancetta or salami chopped into tiny strips or cubessalt and pepper1/2 cup hot water1/2 cup tomato paste1 cup tomato sauce ( optional)-Finely mince the carrot, onions and celery together and place in a pan large enough to hold the meat and vegetables.-Also add the olive oil, lard and butter. Add the chopped pancetta or salami.-Season with salt and pepper.-Place the meat on top and start to cook over a low heat.-Stir the pot occassionally to prevent sticking, the vegetables will give off a lot of liquid.-Cook for at least one hour. The onions should start to caramelize.-Add the wine, 1/2 cup additions at a time, letting it absorb into the sauce.-Add the tomato paste dissolved in the hot water and the tomato sauce. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.-Cover and let cook for another two hours at least.In Naples they say "pippare"- s tiny bubbling like the hot lava from Vesuvius!!!My friends actually cook the meat for at least 6 hours, you can immagine Grandmother getting up at 6am to have lunch ready at noon!!! I cooked my ribs for two hours and then cooked the sauce for another hour. The sauce should glimmer when done and be very thick. Some people do not add any tomato sauce at all and more traditionally only tomato paste.-Remove the meat from the sauce and keep warm.-Serve the pasta with the sauce, a traditional pasta are Paccheri, a huge oversized hollow rigatoni.The meat is served as a main course, mashed potatoes would be great to absorb the extra sauce!I immagine this is where the idea of spaghetti and meatballs came from and Pollo alla cacciatore.Where meats are cooked in sauce and in America, the meatballs were left on the pasta! Chicken cacciatore is the same, often served with huge amounts of sauce, immagine how much nicer it would be to use that sauce on pasta and serve the infused chicken on its own.[...]

France & Italy Redux- Pork Ribs


When Judy and I began this site a million years ago (ok, 2006) we were planning a piggy adventure for the Seattle IACP seminar with Fergus Henderson (see blog archives in sidebar). It was a way for us to organize the presentation and present supporting materials before the food world had adopted the e-way wholeheartedly. Fergus charmed us, taught us, and inspired us as well as the other 200 people in the room that day. The feeling was reciprocated. He said in his usual understated way, "It makes me a bit giddy. Why is everyone interested in me?" So I explained gently to him, "Fergus, here on Planet Food, you are a god, a maestro, a brave pioneer. And above all, food people are seeking 'The Way' in a too-virtual world. You offer them something visceral. Something they can hold. Smell. Eat. Digest. The nose-to-tail way of living.And so it went all weekend that spring in 2006... pork, porc, maiale.Now is the time to revisit what we were just exploring then. In the midst of a meat manifesto, a bacon explosion, a carniverous craving for flesh, bone and blood-- we return to honor Fergus Henderson's parting words, "Hug your butcher, please.'From now until April 2010 when we return to the Northwest, this time to the IACP conference in Portland-Oregon- city of foodcart dreams and un-restaurants- we will be hugging our favorite Italian and French butchers as well as helping you learn about the Euro-way of pork butchery and curing. Charcuterie, recipes, portraits, pig lore, rare breeds, home butchery, and more to follow as we walk you through this oldworld pigearth where farmers are butchers, butchers are cooks and cooks are philosophers.When I began this summer session of B&C (Butchery & Charcuterie) boot camp at the Kitchen-at-Camont I had no idea how deep we would go. Bone deep. I knew I was in trouble when I found myself seriously look at buying this for the workshops ...until I saw the price tag.This week in honor of the last Summer weekends, we began at the inside, the structural key to loving the whole beast. The bone gnawing basics. The fatlicking fingers of tender meat. in other words...the ribs. Plain and simple. RIBS. Nothing spare about them.Let's look at RIBS- neither acronym nor just a spare part, ribs are the very foundation on which we hang our bbq skills. Sticky. Sweet. Savory. Spicy. Think again. Think the Italian way. What do Italians do with ribs? Where does the butcher cut them? Or in France, what are the natives doing with the stubby little ribs, just buying 3 or 4 at a time? Check in for the answer from divinacucina and katedecamont and their butcher friends, here on the Going Whole Hog Road Show- part 2.And yes, we are twittering as divinacucina and katedecamont.Merci to for the artwork. [...]

A Passion for Pork


(image) I WANT YOU!

If you have a passion for pork like we do,
come and join Judy and Kate in their Whole Hog Workshops in France, Italy
or on the road.

Since we began the whole hog for our sell-out IACP conference presentation with the delovely Fergus Henderson of St. John's restaurant in London, there has been a lot of bacon under the bridge. We offer our personal Old World advice and flavors to the big new wwworld that craves the authentic at the table.

Workshops in France:


This February in Gascony, Kate Hill is celebrating All Things 'P' in France with a farm butchery course: cuts, home curing and classic charcuterie featuring the very old world Noir de Gascogne pig, cousin to the Tuscan Cinta Senese. For professionals and home butchers alike, we'll take the Whole Hog approach and with our master butchers breakdown an entire carcass in our own Kitchen-at-Camont.

Workshops in Italy:

(image) Learn the secrets of Porchetta and other Italian specialties from Judy Witts, who has worked along side Master butcher Dario Cecchini and other fabulous butchers in the Central Market.

Italian specialties:
Porchetta: the how to primer
Soprasatta: Headcheese
Fegatelli: pork livers in caul fat-two ways
Roventini: blood "pancakes" savory and sweet
Lard- Tuscan Butter

On the Road:

Together Judy & Kate will bringing their favorite French & Italian butchers and bacon with them to the West Coast for a Spring Pig Frolic before the April IACP conference in Portland Oregon.

Want more information? leave a comment below.

Inspired in Bologna!


La Salumeria di Bruno e FrancoVia Oberdon, 16BolognaWhen in Bologna, one is in the land where pork is King!On our day trip yesterday to meet with friends and do a little market filming, the selection preserved pork products was incredible.Emilia Romagna is famous for it's pasta as well as it's pork, recipes change with every household and village.Very few recipes travel far in Italy,so the variety is incredible. Each area has it's own ways to prepare preserved pork. Salami's, sausages and prosciutto's. I was amazed at the wonderful variations on one of my favorite winter pork products, ciccioli, crispy little pieces of pork left over after rendering the fat. Here where was a moister, pressed version, made more like a soprasatta as well as the little crispy bits I amused to seeing.But what I really want to try ( next time) is the pressed lard!It looks very much like marble.Doesn't that look fabulous???Not having had enough pork- lunch today was a Spaghetti all'Amatriciana my way.It is the first recipe I cooked for my now husband. When I served it, he walked out of the room without eating it at all. I had made it wrong!He is my Italian life coach as well as culinary coach and I NEVER let that happen again!Today he ate it all- I have had 25 years of practice!My Amatriciana for two200 gr spaghetti ( tradition is bucatini, a thick hollow spaghetti)100 gr ( 3 ounces) smoked pancetta ( or thick sliced bacon)1 small red onion, sliced1 clove garlic2 tiny birds eye chili'solive oil1 cup tomato sauceSlice the pancetta into thin strips.Saute' in pan until crispy.Remove and saute the onion in the fat left from the pancetta, adding a little extra olive oil if needed.Add the sliced garlic and break in the chili peppers. ( do not touch your eyes!)Once the onion is cooked, add the tomato sauce and salt to taste.Drain the spaghetti ( save some of the pasta water).Place the spaghetti into the pan with the tomato sauce and saute.the spaghetti will finish cooking by soaking up the tomato sauce.Add some of the saved water if it gets too dry.Add the crispy pancetta bits now and saute' again and serve immediately.NO cheese!I am leaving on Sunday for a month of teaching on the West Coast so I am building up my brownie points by cooking my heart out!Dinner tonight was roast pork shins, stinche di maiale, one of the first dishes I had in Bologna about 20 years ago. Oven-roasted with simple rosemary, garlic, olive oil and sea salt.Bake in parchment for 2 hours at 375 (or until the meat is ready to fall off the bones).The last hour I threw tiny new yukon gold potatoes in the pan with sea salt, rosemary and olive oil. They melted in our mouths!The secrets of the Italian kitchen.... great ingredients- prepared simply![...]

Fall is for Pigging out


nothing is wasted in Florence's Central Market!fabulous selection of salami's As fall comes in, our palates goes to the "P" wordsPorciniPumpkinpumpkins and fall squashPolentabaked polenta with kale and tuscan white beans, " farinata"and of coursePORK!suckling pig is always fabulous for a partyKate and I both agree pork and beans is fall's comfort food.Rib-sticking, heart-warming, belly fillingWe thought it would be a great idea to warm up the fallwith a virtual gathering of recipesinspired by this classic combination.Kate, the Queen of Cassoulet, offers week-end workshopsand also provides cassoles by mail for your ownweekend Camp Cassoulet at home.In my hood, Tuscans are called "Mangiafagioli"- bean eatersand have a special way with porkand beans both!It is comforting that yearly seasons repeat themselvesrewarding us with meals to remember!Soups or stewswhat is your favorite?freshly shelled cannellini beans are so Tuscan Join us in celebrating by sending in your personal favorite.Hit the market, grab a pot and start cooking!Need beans?Contact Steve, our personal bean guru at Rancho Gordo.Check out his new book on beansWonderful gift for xmas with a selection of Rancho Gordo beans!Thank you in advance for sharing any secrets from your kitchens!A nice way to start the holiday celebrations!Send us a link to your recipe on your blog or site and we will collect the links here!Join us in pigging out!Bourbon BBQ beans from Craig "Meathead" GoldwynKate's very faux but yummy NOT cassouletJonathans Table in Queens, NY a cassouletDiva's oven-roasted garlic'd beans with ribsDiva's Tuscan Chili[...]

Boudin Balls!


When we were in New Orleans for IACP last April,
I organized a first night dinner to introduce friends.

It had to be Cochon!
We filled our table with incredible pork bits one of our favorites
were the Boudin Balls.

That is really pigging out,


Fried anything is lovely of course,
but these were great.

Immagine my joy when I got an email from the Rice Board
with the Recipe

as soon as it cools down here I am making some!

Let the good times roll!

It's done!


Here is the final product, my first homecured meat!


I can't wait to have my maestro's feedback, I will take it to those that helped from my neighbors
the Tinti's, to Dario and Orlando and to the market in Florence!

This foto was taken a week ago when I returned from New Orleans.
I thought it was still a little pink,
so I rewrapped it and stuck it in the aging room ( under the stairs to the attic)
and am going to reopen it today for snack.

Will reshoot a foto and weigh it again.
I weighed it when I opened it last week and it was about 1,600kg
so not quite half it's original weight.

The Maestro of my Maestro


Orlando, the Maestro's Maestronow mine too!no man works alone, Dario's team Since Renaissance times, apprentices have worked with masters to learn.In many ways, nothing has changed. Although downtown Florence may look like any other town with Footlocker, Disney Store, and McDonalds,if you look hard enough, you will still find artisans producing products as their fathers did and their father's fathers did. I feel honored to be a friend of Dario Cecchini's, my meat master.His butcher shop is like an artisans workshop.Faith Willinger called him the " Michelangelo" of butchers.His shop is the Uffizi of beef! I went to hang out the other day in the Bottega, which is always the best way to learn.While he works, he holds court more than just selling meat. Food and wine are flowing, old friends and new friends, passer-bys and those that go out of their way to find Dario.As friend enter, Dario stops work to catch up on news. This is the Italy I moved here for.Friend are more important than work to Dario, here with Loys Dario Cecchini with Vincenzo Chini, artisan butchers.Vincenzo is in Gaiole and raises Cinta Senese pigsTheir fathers and grandfathers grew up together.Dante From Udine, closed his restaurant and now teams up with DarioHe is  a Maestro at the art of hand-cutting prosciutto.Hanging on the wall are Dario's guanciale, cured pig cheeks. It is mostly used in Rome for making Amatriciana sauce, instead of pancetta. I had a chance to ask Dario's Maestro, Orlando, who has known Dario since he was child, when Dario's father would go to buy their meats from the company that Orlando worked for. Passing on tradition and also maestro's! I took advantage of my luck and got more tips on my Capocolla. Orlando's advice for final curing. Wash the salt off the meat and let sit at room temp until dry. Make a rub with garlic and black pepper.( no more salt!) I also added chili, a southern touch. I then re-wrapped the coppa and have hung it to dry in a cool room.I was inspired by the Coppa I had in Calabriafrom the chili festival in Diamante, CalabriaLove the way they form them with the bamboo sides.Spicy capocollo.Here is my version, thanks to Maestro Orlando.ready to be tied and hung for aging.Here are Dario's Guanciale, made from the hog jowls, or pig cheeks, aging hanging from the raftersNow the most  important ingredient:TIME See you April 21! it should lose about 50% of it's present weight. It is important to tie it tightly as it will get smaller as it dries too. [...]

Phase Two


I am not so sure how this is all going to work out.

The weather as been so bizarre, clear crisp sunny days.
We did hit freezing here the other day, but it is not the usual winter.

I salted and resalted the pork and for fear of the wam weather left it in the fridge.

At the end of the salting period, I rinsed off the pork and let it sit out for the day to dry.

I then made the final rub with rosemary, garlic, black pepper, chili powder and salt.

Gave it all a nice rub and with the butcher paper Gabrielle gave me
I am going to tie it up to hang and age later today.

The meat weighed 2,400kg when I started and now weighs 2,100 kg.

In my reading, I think it says it should lose 60% of it's weight.

Dario is back from vacation so will go to my local Master of meat and get more info!

New year - new recipe- join me!


Gabriel Tarchi, mercato San Lorenzo Winter is here, but the weather has been to warm to prepare pork! My friend with pigs have not yet slaughtered as it has to be colder to make prosciutto. Global warming at it's worst! Last year my neighbor, Signor Tinti, lost all but one of his prosciutto's due to the heat. No fridges here. He hung his hams in the guest room, windows opened for fresh air.But it was unusually warm and they got the MOSCA!the guests in their "aging" roomWhen you prepare aged meats as it as been done for generations after generation, but the weather changes, traditions will also have to adapt. I hope that doesn't mean that all food will be exactly the same, made under the exact same conditions. The beauty of Italy has been it's artisans. This year I am joining in with my fellow shoppers at the COOP grocery storeand following the book which was given out to customers, am making a CAPOCOLLA. This is a whole 5 pound piece of well marbled pork. Follow me and keep your fingers crossed! I bought ordered my meat several weeks agoand picked up my capocolla February 3. The instructions in the book on salting your own meat, which was given out by the shop, gave very detailed instructions on preparing a ham, to be a prosciutto. For the capocolla,very simply stated, massage the meat with salt,as for prosciutto. Let sit for 3 days, resalt. After 12 days, rinse off salt, season, and tie and hang. Ok, I needed a little more direction. I went to my source at the Central Market, Gabriele Tarchi.His dad was my January pin-up boy last year, holding a fresh ham. For years he was worked with those who raise the animals his father sells, but now that dad has retired Gabriele has taken over the stand. HE KNOWS. So following his guidance, I tweeked the instructions. Along with the salt, which I had added chili powder to create a more southern version for the rub,Gabriele suggested adding garlic paste.Instead of just massaging in the salt, he suggested to create more of a crust, covering it more. Also, to let it sit on a cutting board, tilted to let the blood flow off of the meat, instead of sitting in the liquid. I began on Sunday and will re-salt and Wednesday. Wish me luck!Never one to waste, when I trimmed the pork to even off the edges,Here is what I made.A riff on Dario Cecchini's Carne in Galeraa recipe where meat was cooked in vinegarand herbsto help maintain it while on long voyages.I also think that vinegar takes away any bad flavorsold or wild game may have.Pork in vinegarserves 28 ounces pork ,cubed6 shallots, peeled and halvedolive oil 1 cup or more red wine vinegarrosemarylots of sagesalt.Brown the pork and the shallots in olive oil.Season lightly with salt.Add chopped rosemary and sage.Add 1/2 cup of vinegar, cover and cook.If needed while cooking add more vinegar.When the meat is tender, adjust seasonings.If too tart from vinegar, add some water.I added more vinegar and more salt.FAVOLOSO!Before serving I had some left over roasted veggies I threw time, about 40 minutes [...]

Whole hog for the holidays


EAT PORKA splendid table of Cinta Senese products at a local fair in Italy.Really whole hog! Prosciutto, sausages, salami, blood sausage, cooked livers packed in rendered lard, preserved loin, more tender than prosciutto,inspiring me for a winter project. We have been lax in keeping up with the whole hog blog, but cooler weather will have us back dreaming about preserving pork in many ways and markets inspiring us to cook on!But with the holidays comingI recieved an email that brought a smile to my face.I am so grateful for Grateful Palate their catalog is a thing of beauty.When we did our presentation in Seattle on Saints Preserve Us,with Fergus Hendersonfrom Saint Johns in LondonI ordered Bacon Brittle for our tasting.LOVED ITJust one of the fabulous items in this great catalog!Other items I have seen for pork lovers-When I taught at Ramekins in Sonoma and cooked onthe Big Green EggI was a instant convert!I would get the biggest Big Green Egg,everything we cooked on itwas better,fasterand easierthan in the wood burning ovenor the Weber.Then when I was looking for info on the web onroasting a whole pigI saw THISa roasting boxto do whole hogs...let the partying begin!happy holidaysCelebrate the PIG![...]

Over the Tuscan Stove


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Mr. Mediterranean, Clifford Wright, has just relaunched his fabulous website.
Summer is here and I couldn't help but be inspired by his recipes for
sardenian roast suckling pig, called Porceddu in dialect.


In Florence we are lucky to have a couple of places,
that for a table of 8 will do a porceddu dinner!

Next time you are here.. great dinner party!
Almost like a treasure hunt first finding the suckling pig, then the Mirto!
and any decent dinner would finish in Filu ferro or Mirto Grappa!

SF Salami - Chris Cosentino


Surfing the net, found the great news!
Boccalone, the big mouth, is the new salami producer in SF.

Chris Cosentino is one of my hero's!

They have created a CSA for salumi!
Join the Salumi Society and stop by Incanto for your pickup!

If I wasn't in Italy.. I would be so there!

Pig+Cookies = Fast Track



foto- Laura Krantz NPR

When not tending my own e-garden here in Southwest France, I listen to the dulcet sounds of American's NPR while doing the dishes, mending an parasol, or just slacking off. Always on the alert for Swiney news that's fit to print... I offer you all an Oreo and a Summer Fair corn dog...on the hoof. Some days you just gotta wonder at how we all make a living.

Kate & Bacon