off to gascony


I may be the luckiest person in the world.

I am leaving for the airport in just a few hours. Tomorrow, Paris, and a day of crazy SHOPPING at Saint Ouen, Portes des Vanves and the other flea markets and brocantes around Paris. I’ll be on the lookout for terrines and plates and pretty things for food photos. These are the trinkets that the French do so well. I already have a few treasures in the kitchen from past Parisian shopping excursions, but I expect this time is going to be even better.

Taking me on this shopping trip?  The Antiques Diva. Toma Haines is American, but has lived in Europe for more than a decade. She’s very clever, I can just tell. Check out this brilliant business concept. The Antiques Diva offers shopping tours in France, Italy, England, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, soon expanding into Spain and Portugal. The private tours range from one day to two weeks and are individually tailored to the client. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun. And of course, we’ll end the day enjoying charcuterie and champagne!

Sunday, I’ll take the TGV to Agen in Gascony. Kate Hill is hosting Grrl’s Meat Camp and I am going! When I look at the list of attendees, I’ll admit I get a little nervous.  Because I may be a Dame of Meat, but at heart, I’m a home cook, and I just want to be able to Keep Up with the other Grrls. Wish me luck! I can’t even imagine – cooking, learning, sharing … markets, farms, charcuterie, butchery – and all things Gascon.

So, who’s going to be there?

Of course, Kate Hill will be there. Kate is one of the generous sponsors of the grand prize for Charcutepalooza, and presenter, with Dominique Chopolard of the Cochon and Charcuterie workshops earlier this year. (OMG, cannot WAIT to see Dom again!)

Kate is an author, a former barge captain, a cook, raconteur, ex-pat-American-now-Gascon-near-native, and an awesome resource – she collects marvelous people around her and has that way of making connections. That’s why I am so excited about this opportunity – the chance to meet these fascinating women.

As of this Fall, Kate will be splitting her time between her beloved Camont and French farm to table workshops in Gascony , and running the butchery program at The School of Artisan Food in Nottingham Forest.

Kari Underly, Founder of Range, Inc., will be coming to Gascony by way of NYC and the Today Show. She’s got a brand new book to talk about, The Art of Beef Cutting. Kari is a third generation butcher.

Camas Davis has the distinction of being the first woman to sign up for the Kitchen-at-Camont’s five week Butchery & Charcuterie program in 2009.  Camas embraced her French experience, returning home to creating the Portland Meat Collective.

Barb Ostmann is a former president of IACP, with a solid background in Agricultural and Food Journalism. Barb and her hunt-loving veterinarian husband host a Wild Meats BBQ every year at their home in the Missouri countryside. Barb is the author of several books and articles, including the Recipe Writer’s Handbook.

Beth Gilliam and Rachel Gordon are students of Chef Sarah Wong of Seattle Culinary Institute, a leader in sustainable culinary education. Unable to come herself, Sarah organized a scholarship drive to get these students to Camont.

Sarah King (and Bubba) live on The Collective in Portland, Oregon. Sarah raises pigs, and writes wonderfully.

Melora Koepke attended one of Kate’s charcuterie classes last year and caught the Gascon bug. A travel writer, Melora visited Camont this summer to write about the night markets of Gascony and just couldn’t stay away from Grrl’s Meat Camp.

I’ll be tweeting, posting to Facebook, and sending dispatches every day for The Washington Post’s All We Can Eat. Check in for Tales of Gascony.

Gros bisous, Dennis, for telling me to experience everything and encouraging me to make this trip.   xox

18 thoughts on “off to gascony”

  1. You will so totally fit in. You know that I don’t think that there is a more important role than being a “home cook”. You have taught me and pushed me beyond my wildess imagination of what I was capable of making. I think that the group should be proud to be with YOU.

  2. Bon voyage! I have only one word to say about it: jalouse! Years ago I found some great trinkets in the Marais–happy hunting! Looking forward to your contes de voyage.

  3. So so so so so jealous! I love france and dream of going back there for a grand food adventure. I have only been to Paris (love!) but want to explore the countryside. Take lots of pictures!!!

  4. Cathy bon voyage! – I will keep up with you on line and share with all your fans in Bethesda/Arlington – I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you a glorious time. xo

  5. What?! I’m going to Gascony!? Oh, wait – different Melora (that _never_ happens!) I suppose I will have to live vicariously through the various blogs. Enjoy!

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