Illustration by Rupert Bottenberg

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Charcuterie class in Gascony (in enRoute, Air Canada’s inflight magazine)

Swine and Dine: Our writer hams it up at a Charcuterie course in France.

“Squeeze the sausage tightly so that the meat cures evenly,” says cook and food writer Kate Hill, showing me how to churn the manual meat grinder with one hand while managing the growing coil of saucisse de Toulouse with the other. We’re using a rich red shoulder of pork we purchased from a farm this morning, seasoning only with salt and pepper. There are no modern twists on the ancient cycle of sow to sausage here.

I’m in Gascony, or “France’s larder,” as the region has been dubbed because of the local abundance of duck, prunes, strawberries, Armagnac and, fittingly, pig. This intensive course in French artisan charcuterie is hosted by Hill, an American who discovered Camont, her 18th-century farmhouse, 25 years ago when she was looking for a spot to moor her barge (yes, you read that right). She’s since turned it into the culinary retreat where I’m learning how to salt, cure, cook and case meat. Read article