When David Cox brought his best pal Paul to the ‘Salami Cave’ for a meat curing experience with the Hampshire Salami Co, it wasn’t just a foodie experience the pair were seeking. It was part of Paul’s ‘stag day’, as in June he is getting married in Tuscany, Italy. It therefore seemed fitting that in preparation for that big day he should learn to make Salumi, the collective for Italian cured meat, just as charcuterie is the collective for French style cured meat products.
The self confessed foodies were thrown right in at the deep end as we embarked upon the task of breaking down half a pig into the main components for curing, after which we would make eight different types of Italian Salumi.
The plan for the overall day was to complete the following tasks:
- Break down half a pig into main components for curing.
- Separate the whole muscle components for curing including, the belly for pancetta, the collar for Capocollo and the loins for Lonza.
- Cure all the whole muscle components with salt and aromatics.
- Divide the remaining meat for salami and fresh sausages; trimming off fat and sinew.
- Make Italian Salsicce, pure pork sausages seasoned with fennel, chilli and pepper.
- Make three types of salami, including: Finocchiona, Milanese and Calabrese.
And if that wasn’t enough, we planned to make Coppiette in one day, strips of pork loin seasoned with chilli flakes, coriander and fennel seeds which are then dried and eaten with a cold beer, typical of the Lazio region of Italy.
The pair were relentless in their appetite for knowledge and being accomplished cooks, had good skills. The course was tailored on the spot to suit their needs and progressed at a fairly fast pace.
The Cure a Pig in a Day ‘nose to tail meat curing’ experience is a real baptism of fire. If you want a full on meat curing experience and would like to learn the basics of preserving meat using salt and time, this course may also be for you.
If that wasn’t enough, we also enjoyed a lunch of cheese, fresh bread and Salumi (by the Hampshire Salami Co) as well as fresh Salsicce, with Tuscan bean and tomato ragù. Salumi makers have got to eat right!
At the end of the day David and Paul were bathed in glory having achieved so much and will, we all hope, continue with this passion. However, ringing in my ears still are the words from David when we first connected via social media: ‘I tried meat curing once and I will never do it again. It costs a king’s ransom and was a complete disaster. Never again. Never’.
David, it’s good to have you back from the wilderness and on the true path to enlightenment!