Author Rowan Jacobsen said recently, “Salumi (aka charcuterie or cured meats) [are] the obvious next frontier in Vermont’s food revolution.”
And for good reason. Cured meat right now is similar to the rise of the artisan cheese movement in the U.S., in that there is a belief that if producers make something both delicious and sustainably produced, Americans will seek it out.
According to the Washington Post, “While restaurant chefs enhance their menus with house-made, artisanal meats, culinary schools are just beginning to respond with the broader kind of training required. Most of the schools in the States educate students on the cuts of meat, portioning and buying, as well as garde manger, literally ‘keep to eat,’ which includes pâtés and fresh sausages.
But one chef said that a chicken was the only animal he learned to break down at culinary school; another said about 3 1/2 hours were devoted to learning those familiar charts of meat cuts.”
Pete Colman, the owner of Vermont Salumi, has a passion for cured meats. Born in the Umbria region of Italy, he moved to Vermont when he was 3 ½; however, the family took annual trips back to Italy. It was on these trips that he developed his passion for prosciutto; wanting to learn to cure his own meats, he apprenticed with Old World butchers in Italy. Coming home, he converted his family’s barn to start Vermont Salumi, which offers four different types of small-batch, handmade sausages and cured meats.
Colman will be leading a 2-week course on butchery and charcuterie at Sterling College as part of its School of the New American Farmstead. Colman, who has taught workshops at Sterling in the past, wants students to learn the fundamentals of butchering, processing, fermenting, curing, and dry-aging meats. He’ll also explore regulatory standards for anyone interested in pursuing the craft professionally.
“I know I’m going to be in a room with people who share the same enthusiasm for this stuff and aren’t just there because they have to take a class,” he said. “That’s going to be amazing, for me and for them.”
Students will get an in-depth familiarization with making the most of the entire animal—if not completely “nose to tail” eating, as close as possible. Additionally, people taking the course will make and discuss a wide range of both American and European charcuterie products. Students will also understand food safety, including understanding pathogens, and will make a HACCP plan. There will also be time set aside to review business planning for the meat industry, including: developing a product line, start-up costs, overhead, and market research.
“Butchery and Charcuterie” runs from July 5-15, 2016. To learn more or to register, visit https://www.sterlingcollege.edu/course/charcuterie/.