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#valentine #cruffin another batch this time gruyere and ham And almond yuzu matcha it’s a non diet day so we are having Valentine dinner tonight #food
#lovejapan #日本大好き

For chefs France has played a pivotal role in our education and style of cooking.

Not so much these days as a more global influence influences us all.

Here in the UK we seem to have adopted them all,  We are such a multicultural society the opportunity to learn new cuisines and styles is an easy step.

Our own foods seem to be the niche market and some of the things we have adopted  are starting to disappear.

Nothing more so than small goods. A whole gamut of products produced by butchers to use up the entire animal.

The pig is the prime example; Brawn or Fromage du tete is rarely seen in a butchers shop, the humble bath chap, Haslet, penny duck, all items that have a pride of place in your local shop it seems a lost art especially in the south the black pudding it seems has a cultural home Bury as the town seems to be always associated with the pudding.

“Perhaps the public have become squeamish the thought of meat coming from an animal…  the using up of all the parts inside and out”

I feel supermarkets are to blame everything packaged for convenience and no visual link to what the cut has come from.

Also a whole generation of chefs buying from catering butchers exactly what they need and never taking a knife to a carcass and failing to understand what cut works best for the job.

Things are starting to change.

The slow cooking revolution has brought the old cuts back to the fore and chefs are changing their mindset.

Ox cheek and pigs head are taking a more prominent place on the menu, braising, Sous-vide and other slow cooking methods are bringing more diners into the arms of the slightly more obscure.

My time with Fergus Henderson at St John and my eight years at the Ginger Pig have only increased my passion for all things cured pickled smoked stuffed into skins and layered into terrines.

And the thirst for knowledge goes on.

Through less than six degrees of separation I recently got to meet Kate Hill of Kate’s Camont Kitchen in the Gers.

Someone who is equally passionate about charcuterie and food as I am and has done something more concrete with this passion, She has decided to throw open the doors of her country retreat to teach the art of terrine making and charcuterie.

Whilst on the charcuterie courses the students get to work hands on with Dominic Chapolard who Farms and produces his own charcutiere and meats from his small and sustainable farm tucked away in the Gascon countryside.

It was a revelation to see the carcass of the pigs they were almost double the size of the UK pigs we slaughter at around 80-90 kg but Dominic keeps them till they are around 180-220 kg so a slower growing animal produces better muscle structure.

 The feed also plays an important part in the process the meat is two shades darker than the pigs I buy and somewhat more flavorsome.

To make salami and cured meats ,from the birth of the pig it takes around two years to reach the table, so you can understand how important the husbandry butchery and skill involved in making the products matter and how important is to pass these skills on to those that care.

Getting the message out about these products and how to make them without the use of nitrates and other rather dubious additives is taking time, educating the consumer is the way but the small amount of producers getting the products  out into the market is growing, some just keen amateurs and others form  a long line of farmers and butchers.

In the uk there are artisan courses run by the welbeck estate covering some of these subjects and Its seems that Kate will soon be involved in some of the courses.

In the meantime hands on charcuterie courses can be taken in France at Camont.

Parallel with these courses throughout the year, an old friend Tim clinch Joins Kate to teach the joys of food photography using only natural light of which he is the undisputed master, for anybody who loves their food and likes to immortalize it this is the place to be.


Welbeck estate

Kate Hill

Tim Clinch



todays terrines

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