The Grand Prize

The Grand Prize – A Trip Worth Its Salt

The details are about as firm as anything can be so far in advance, but this is what we’ve dreamed up. Thanks go to Kate Hill at Camont and Trufflepig Travel for all the glorious detail, charm and inspiration.

See all the restrictions and notes below on the offer.

March 2 – The winner will fly roundtrip NYC/ Paris or equivalent value toward travel, courtesy of Trufflepig.
March 3 – Your first day in Paris, Trufflepig will provide a a personal guide for a glorious food walk, with backstage visits to a truffle shop, traiteur, epicerie, and fromagerie. You’ll be zipping around the city with a native guide. Dinner, with a special Guest, will be at the meaty and delicious l’Ami Jean in the 7th.
March 4-8 – Travel to and from Camont (see program details below) on the TGV
March 9 Return to the train station, where the TGV will whisk you to Paris. Once in Paris, meet Trufflepig. They’ve already arranged your flight to Paris and the hotel the first night, the train to Camont and the train back. And now, Trufflepig wants to show you Paris. Their Paris. Be ready the next morning, March 10, when Trufflepig and The Antiques Diva will arrive at your hotel in the wee hours and whisk you off to an adventurous day at the famous Ham market, where charcuterie and antiques blend in a centuries old tradition. You’ll return to Paris for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. You’d better rest up, because Trufflepig is throwing you a party. Yes, that evening, there will be a meet up for all the hippest Paris bloggers  – the very first Bloggapalooza Jambon and Wine Fête, hosted by Kate and Trufflepig.
March 10 – transfer to the airport and flight home.


– The dates are flexible but need to be decided and agreed between the winner, Trufflepig and Camont within 10 days of the winner being announced. (No later than January 10,  2012) Alternative dates will be offered in either April or May 2012. The start date has been chosen around arrangements at Camont, and the visit to the Ham Market, and to allow the winner to leave after work on a Friday, returning the following Sunday to sleep it off…
– The prize is for one person only. If the winner wishes to bring a partner, we can help make arrangements for travel, and they are free to share the complimentary hotel room. Beyond that, any extra costs incurred must be paid by the winner. This includes the cost of the Camont cooking program if they wish to attend. It also includes cost of the Rungis tour and any other arrangements in Paris.
– The trip is extendable as long as the flights are not more expensive on the dates the person wishes to travel; if so, the winner will pay the extra cost. All other costs from extending the program (hotel, transport etc) will be paid by the winner.
– The flight is from New York to Paris, or from any other city to Paris up to a maximum value of $1,500 including taxes, to be booked by Trufflepig (not the winner).
– Trufflepig reserves the right to change the hotels on the trip.

– one roundtrip flight in economy class from New York to Paris
– one roundtrip TGV ticket in 2nd class from Paris to Agen
– airport transfers in Paris
– 3 nights accommodation in Paris
– one dinner in Paris (March 10th)
– 4 nights accommodation in Gascony
– all breakfasts
– Rungis visit and transport
– Paris guided walk
Plus, the program at Camont, of course. Details below.

Does not include:
– lunches and dinners in Paris except the first night
– please note that Kate’s inclusions and exclusions apply during the time at Camont (eg dinners)

Making Charcuterie in the Camont Kitchen with Kate Hill & Friends in Gascony, France!
An introduction to Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie Gascon style.
Henri IV crows the French morning into reality, hens lay golden yolk eggs, and the smells of good Gascon bacon rises from this 18th Century Kitchen at Camont. Duck breasts are smoking over an 8-foot wide open cheminée, jars of confit du canard line the Piggery Pantry and our butcher friends await us at the Nérac farmer’s market where six butcher shops supply the Gascon populations with a treasure of salted, cured cooked and fresh charcuterie. Welcome to Kate Hill’s Kitchen-at-Camont, the real place behind the award-winning blog.

The Kitchen at Camont presents the ABC’s of Charcuterie, Gascon Style.
Program details:
: The Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie Winner arrives in Agen, where we pick them up at the train station.
after an introductory visit to the glories of Gascony over Sunday lunch, we begin an afternoon class with the basics of French farmstead butchery in Kate’s Kitchen at Camont breaking down ducks, chickens and rabbit to prepare for delicious terrine de foie, pâté de campagne, and confit de lapin. This is barnyard cooking at its best.
Monday: we visit Baradieu, the Chapolards’ pig farm and farm butcher shop as the family starts the week’s order of breaking down ten whole pigs to sell at the market as fresh and cured pork. After learning about the specific needs of raising charcuterie pigs with Jacques, we lunch with Christian and Dominique in their home before returning to work in the salle de coupe with Bruno, Marc and Cecile to learn how to make French pancetta- ventrèche, how to bone and seam butcher the shoulder, and trim and tie the neck or coppa for curing as delicious home-cured Gascon charcuterie. We return to Camont to prepare a dinner of roast coppa with our new friends.
Tuesday: a full day learning the basics of European seam butchery. Working on your own half of pig, you can now more easily define the meat cuts by use and muscle- loin roasts, coppa for curing, belly for ventrèche and bacon, ham leg and shank for curing, shoulder for sausage, etc.
Wednesday: after a shopping trip to the morning market at Lavardac, we take a butcher’s tour of Nérac’s six artisan butcher shops where each butcher shares his trucs and secrets with us including a class by Maître Charcutier Bruno Saclier in making his famous Terrine Néracaise, a 500 year old favorite of the court of Henri IV.
Thursday: we devote the morning to the high art of duck charcuterie- specifically foie gras and magret seché or duck pancetta with a visit to the working Fatted Farm of Jehanne Rignault where she raises and prepares duck and geese for confit, pates, and other delices! We pack a bag of savory goodies for a high-speed train pique-nique recapping the week as we travel to Paris arriving in time for drinks & dinner.

By week’s end in the Kitchen-at-Camont, you will have practiced the art of French hand-cutting meat for charcuterie and created a catalogue of artisan charcuterie both cooked and cured that you can duplicate at home. Using only salt and pepper, the local artisan butchers and charcutiers of Gascony continue the centuries old traditions of preserving and curing their seasonal fare for year round enjoyment. Now you can learn and continue the traditions in your own home kitchen… with a little help from your Gascon friends.

Who is Eligible to Win
In order to qualify for the grand prize, you must blog all twelve of the Charcutepalooza challenges. Qualifying blog entries must be posted on the 15th of the month, with the exception of the duck prosciutto post, which may be posted any time during the year. Kim and Cathy will review the posts from qualifying bloggers on December 15th. We will whittle down the group to the best 24 posts. We’ll be looking for exceptional writing, astonishing photography, and delicious recipes.

The Judges
We are honored (okay, verklempt) to announce the panel of judges who will be whittling down the 24 posts to the best two.

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs are the co-founders of They both write about food for The New York Times, and Amanda is the author, most recently, of The Essential New York Times Cookbook. The first food52 Cookbook will be published in October 2011.


Ariane Daguin, Owner, D’Artagnan, was born into a world of great food. Her father, André Daguin, is famous throughout France for his artistry with foie gras and other Gascon specialties. By the age of ten, Ariane was expert at deboning ducks, rendering duck fat, preparing terrines and cooking the game birds her grandfather.  Charcuterie has always been a way of life for her. In 1985, when Ariane founded D’Artagnan, it was the only purveyor of foie gras and game in the U.S.  Ariane was a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement, dedicated to procuring the best from small farms that support humane and sustainable farming practices and never use antibiotics or hormones.  Today, D’Artagnan is the leading purveyor of organic poultry, game, foie gras, charcuterie, pâtés, sausages, smoked delicacies, and wild mushrooms in the nation, supplying the world’s top restaurants, hotels and retailers, as well as consumers online at  Ariane is the founding president of Les Nouvelles Mères Cuisinières, recipient of the James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America Award”, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit.


Bob (Robert M.) del Grosso has spent the better part of the last three decades as a professional cook and teacher who, he hopes, taught his students how to cook while encouraging them understand cooking and eating in the broadest context imaginable. He has taught the full culinary curriculum at the The New York Restaurant School on 34th St. (Now the Art Institute on Varrick St.) and Gastronomy and Food Science (Advanced Culinary Principles) at The Culinary Institute of America. He continues to teach through his intentionally Kafkaesque-titled blog A Hunger Artist and in classes at Hendricks Farms and Dairy, a small meat and dairy farm where he has spent the last four years transforming farm animals into retail cuts and Charcuterie.


Matt Wright is a graphic artist who shares a passion for food photography and producing home made charcuterie. A self taught food photographer, who cooks, styles and shoots everything you see on his blog Wrightfood. He keeps is food photography clean and simple – focusing on the food, showcasing seasonal dish ingredients with minimalist, modern styling. He started making charcuterie at home 3 years ago with a piece of bresaola hanging in a cage in his garage. Matt specializes in slow aged dry cured whole muscles and salami. Traditional techniques paired with locally sourced meats which are contrasted with modern flavors to produce unique salumi. Matt loves a gin & tonic along with good humor, especially the numerous sausage jokes that seem to come his way these days.

Michael Ruhlman
Michael Ruhlman is a Cleveland based food blogger, cook, writer, and journalist who wishes to translate the chef’s craft for every kitchen.  Ruhlman found out that the best things in life happen when you get carried away.  He went into a cooking school to write about what it means to be a chef, and instead he became a cook, got a job line cooking, lucked into one of the great restaurants of the world to work with the chef on his book, and Ruhlman kept on writing about food. “I got carried away, and it’s made all the difference.” Ruhlman’s main goal is to get people into the kitchen to cook, to try new things, learn, and have fun. The kitchen to some is a challenging place, but it should not be.  With the right techniques, books, equipment, and attitude anyone can cook like a pro in their kitchen.

He has authored the popular culinary Chef series “The Making of a Chef”, “The Soul of a Chef”, and ‘The Reach of a Chef”. More recent books include “Ratio”, which was endorsed by Alton Brown from the Food Network and “The Elements of Cooking”, a handy food glossary. He has also co-authored a number of cookbooks with top US chefs such as “The French Laundry”, “Bouchon”, and “Ad Hoc’ with Thomas Keller, “A Return to Cooking” with Eric Ripert, “Charcuterie” with Brian Polcyn, and “Symon Says: Live to Cook” with Michael Symon. You may have seen Michael on “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, PBS’ “Cooking Under Fire”, and as a judge on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef.”

Ruhlman also wrote our guide for Charcutepalooza – Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing–a thinly veiled love song to the pig, to animal fat and salt, sausages, confits, pates, terrines–with his friend, the Michigan chef Brian Polcyn.  Currently the two of them are working on the followup book to Charcuterie – Salume.

The Community
Finally, you, the Charcutepaloozers – we’ll ask you to choose between the two, and vote for  the very best blog post of the Charcutepalooza year. And that lucky blogger will win a meaty time in Gascogne and Paris.

Here’s a PDF to download with all the details.