Tag Archives: charcutepalooza

tales of traveling

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks of travel. I may be physically back in Washington, DC. I may be making dinners and sitting at my desk, wandering around my yard, all full of Spring blooms, but in my heart, I am still in Paris.

I love that city. We had a great visit. Ate oysters frequently, but not often enough. Drank lovely wines. Watched pretty Parisians all dressed up and looking impossibly chic. Filled my eyes with architecture and art. With long views down the river from bridge to bridge.

Hermes left bank store on Rue de Sevres

Smelled the fresh baguette, the macarons at Ladurée, the crisp expensive air of Hermes’ new-ish Left Bank shop (in a former swimming pool!) Learned my favorite huilerie has closed, but found a shop around the corner that carries the stunningly good pistachio and pine nut oils.

A welcome package from W.W. Norton publishers - a fascinating book, especially if you love Paris.

The Charcutepalooza soirée, attended by a band of Paris bloggers, the generous sponsors and old and new friends, was a glorious occasion, and felt properly festive. It was a pleasure to meet Peter, and to see how he was as transformed by his Gascon experience, as I was. He blogged daily, and brilliantly, so read his posts! David Lebovitz wrote up a lovely piece about the party, too.

After all that celebrating, Kate and I chunneled to London for a quick stopover. We had brunch at Caravan – delicious thick slabs of sourdough with chunky avocado and red pepper flakes and fat poached eggs with yolks the colors of marigolds. Dessert was coconut cake, toasted, with lemony creamy custard and roasted rhubarb. My goodness, what a breakfast.

We walked the city – the weather was glorious – and met up with friends of Kate’s. We snacked again at Duck Soup in Soho – bits and bites that satisfied, then on through the throngs of Chinatown to St. John’s bar for Manhattans and more snack foods in their cool as a cucumber interior space, the bartender a little frantic and odd, but amusing. The other guests including someone who seemed to be doing a very bad impression of Russell Brand.

In the morning, we were off to Hogwarts, or so it seemed, as we boarded the train to the School of Artisan Food. What a fantastic setting for this new, bold educational experiment.

The Welbeck estate, all 17,000 acres of it, is situated in central England – north of London by just ninety quick minutes on the Retford train. Charlie, the local taxi driver, picked us up, and really I thought I was in the middle of an Agatha Christie novel, out in the Midlands.

But driving through the main gates pushed me out of Agatha Christie and right into Downton Abbey mode. Building after gorgeous building, long walls topped with stone pineapples, backing up greenhouses as far as the eye can see.

Pheasants gathered on long broad swaths of green grass. A brewery and a dairy and gorgeous brick bread baking ovens all clanging away, putting out some exceptional artisanal foods.

The exceptional breakfast at Mrs. Brown's.

The school put me up at Mrs. Brown’s B&B, a quaint, picturesque, utterly perfect place just across the road. Joan is a delight and makes the most glorious breakfasts. My room was sumptuous with an enormous bathtub that demanded I take a minute to soak and relax. And I did.

The day I visited SAF, some students were in the butchery, breaking down ducks, making confit, pate, rillettes in strokes familiar to the Charcutepalooza community. Across the stone courtyard, in the bakery, elementary school students watched as Matthew, a young baker, demonstrated the magic of yeast and the roar of the wood burning brick bread ovens.

The children lined up to touch the warm bricks, returning to the line with enormous eyes and squeals. Each child would leave the school at the end of the day with a loaf of their own handmade, artisanal bread. Give a man a fish…

All this is possible with the artistry of a few and the vision of one. Alison Swan Parente is a remarkable woman who started out looking for a good loaf of bread. She lives in this little place, Welbeck Abbey. Yes, I know. It took my breath away, too. How does she do it? Remain so approachable and thoughtful and grounded?

Alison and I traveled together to London later that week. On the train, we talked about the state of culinary education, the history of artisanal apprenticeships, how knowledge passes from one generation to the next, and how desperate the need is to preserve these skills. It was an exciting and inspirational train ride.

Dates on branches at La Fromagerie.

I spent an afternoon in London wandering around Marylebone. The Ginger Pig is the perfect butcher shop. I picked up a small pork pie for the airplane – it was exceptional! I just wish I had packed some mustard. Next door, La Fromagerie made me yearn for my kitchen. I saw remarkable produce, a cheese room that looks like a fine jewelry shop, and jars of bouquets garni that signal real greatness at work.

My final night in London included meeting up with Twitter friends. I met Jane at a classic pub, The Crown and Two Chairmen and she was every bit as wonderful as I expected.

At Quo Vadis, this fruit and flower display greeted diners.

And a few feet away on Dean Street, Ruth, a Charcutepalooza finalist and excellent dinner companion, suggested Quo Vadis. Splendid offerings including spectacular oysters, smoked eel and horseradish sandwich, salsify with parmesian and a fresh cheese, like loose fromage frais, with peas and mint. Perfection.

There is more. Much more. I’m still processing. In the meantime,  I’m posting a few more photos over at Facebook, so check out my page there for the best of the bazillion pictures I snapped.

Stick around, I’m back in the kitchen already and have some zippy new preserves to share. More soon.

hello spring.

Without even a moment of Winter, it seems, Spring has arrived.

It’s hard to leave my garden in Spring, when every day brings another surprise. Today a tulip – an early Gregii – popped up. And others will appear while I’m away, and may even fade before I return. So much could change. It is March, after all. There could still be a snowstorm that could frostbite the magnolia blossoms.

But I’m going to bid adieu for just a few days. The iris and snowdrops. The daffodils and tulips. Buds swelling on the cherry tree and the crabapple. And the camellias, with the promise of blowsy flowers far too flashy for these early months.

We’re off to Paris for a few days of just-us time.

Friday will be a whirlwind Charcutepalooza day when we meet up with Peter Barrett, after his four days at Kate Hill’s Camont, all part of the Charcutepalooza grand prize. All of us will join  The Antiques Diva as she leads us through the Ham and Antiques Market. After that.. off to finally meet Jack Dancy from Trufflepig, for a swank and meaty cocktail party he’s throwing. Thrilled Ariane Daguin from D’Artagnan will be in Paris, and Florence Casterede from Armagnac Casterede will, too. That puts nearly every sponsor in the City of Lights to celebrate Charcutepalooza. Without these sponsors, none of this could have happened.

one of my prized hellebores

I can’t wait to meet people I’ve wanted to meet for a long time, and others I’ll be seeing again. And I’m especially thrilled that DC friends currently living in Brussels and Vienna are hopping trains to come to Paris.

Please, don't bloom yet. Wait for me, camellias!

After all this Charcutefolie, I’ll be chunneling to London, and then on to the School of Artisan Food with Kate. The trip will end with one night in London, eating and drinking with Charcutepalooza friends before an early flight back home.

I am beyond excited, feel ever so fortunate, and I promise to tell you all about it in a couple of weeks.


PS Follow me on Twitter. I’ll be using the #charcutepalooza hashtag. I’ll also post on Facebook and Instagram, my new social media friend.

And the winner is….

The Year of Meat has come to a close. We have a winner, and his name is Peter Barrett.

Peter writes the visually stunning and always wry and clever A Cook Blog. From the very beginning, everyone noticed his spectacular, extravagent and enviable way of answering the challenges. I’d Like to Be Alone with the Sandwich for Awhile, My Salami Brings All the Goyim to the Yard, and the Charcutepalooza winning post Gratitude is the Attitude are three of my personal favorites, but any of Peter’s writings combine charm, insouciance, and knowledge, garnished with stunning photography that reveals his artistic training.

Peter is first an artist. Trained at RISD and the Art Institute, he pursues his art in many ways, and of late, cooking and food writing have become part of an already broad portfolio ranging from gallery shows of large CAD-assisted art to exceptionally fine lined, Asian-ish ceramics in food friendly colors and shapes. You’ll find his writing in Edible Hudson Valley and Chronogram, where he is food and drink editor.

Well before Charcutepalooza, Peter had been messing around with Polcyn & Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. He made bacon, pancetta and guanciale and all the other gateway meats. Following is his grandfather’s tradition, he bought a “dirt cheap Home Depot smoker” and began to regularly smoke chickens and other meats. He perfected the smoked meats, and then, for whatever reason, stopped his progression along the meaty path. He was happy with bacon and smoked chicken. When he moved from Brooklyn to Woodstock, NY, he hauled the smoker with him, but then began to think about his Grandfather’s pickles. And from there, vinegars, and cheesemaking, and bread. When Charcutepalooza came along, he turned his gaze again to meat.

Peter’s cooking, which he gamely admits might be a bit obsessive, is the result of many years of practice and who knows how many cookbooks studied. During his years at RISD, he spent time in Rome, cooking and eating and taking in the world. Graduate school brought dinner parties with the similarly gastronomically inclined, and from there a most serendipitous and unlikely job as a private chef.

Now, years later, at home in Woodstock with wife Christine and son Milo, 7, Peter has complete control over the newly renovated kitchen, admitting to a bearish growl ready for anyone who messes with his space. A “functional stove”, tons of counter space, an enviable antique farm table that seats many, his mother’s KitchenAid mixer (with original metal grinding attachments… green with envy here) and a MacGyver’d sous vide acquired through barter with a fellow blogger pretty much makes up his arsenal. You might think he’s a gadget guy, but he’s not.

Peter, a self-proclaimed curmudgeon, says he’s not a joiner. But the irreverence of Charcutepalooza appealed to him from the beginning, and the prize was never far from his mind. One thing he didn’t expect? How Charcutepalooza has brought so many new friends into his life. Sure, there is an active online community, but in real life, Peter’s son and Kim Foster‘s daughters are becoming fast friends.

Peter is off to France, thanks to Trufflepig Travel. He’ll spend a few days with Kate Hill, Stephanie, Bacon, the Chapolards and all the other wonderful people of Gascony, then on to Paris for a trip to the Ham Market with The Antiques Diva and a celebratory cocktail party. We’re all very happy for you, Peter, and wish you bon voyage.

And since I have your attention, this is a perfect opportunity for me to remind you of all the people who helped make Charcutepalooza such a rousing success.

Trufflepig Travel is a gem of a company. They’re putting together Travel Experiences in the most clever, modern, eye opening ways. And they’re taking care of Peter’s travel and lodging. Thank you thank you thank you.

Kate Hill. Well, I’ve already gushed here and here… so you know how I feel about the Duchess of Camont. Kate, thank you for such a rich education all year long.

D’Artagnan. Ariane Daguin who has been at the forefront of honest, properly farmed meat. Thank you, Ariane, for providing the community the opportunity to source meats at remarkable prices. And a big shout out to Lily Hodge, who was such a pleasure to work with, even when I gave her no forewarning.

Armagnac Casterede. I cannot wait to meet Florence in Paris, where they will be providing Armagnac for the party. We will raise a glass to the art of Armagnac then.

The Antiques Diva. Toma, I still laugh when I remember our whirlwind trip around Paris. One of the best days EVER. Thrilled that a Diva will be our guide around the Ham Market.

Food52, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, who were so encouraging early on. Thank you for hosting the challenges all year, and particularly all the attention you provided the final challenge, bringing the Charcutepalooza fun to a big wide audience. Thank you so much. And Kristen Miglore – I have no idea how you keep all those balls in the air. And also write the most elegant Genius Recipe columns? I’ll have some of whatever she’s having.

Barb Kiebel and Kinetic Web Solutions, thank you for helping me navigate technology all year long, from the large issues to those you managed in 140 characters.

And of course to Kim Foster. A terrific partner in meat. Your irreverence, your tales of sausage encounters, and all the humorous ways you’ve used meat in a sentence – it’s absolutely set the perfect tone all year long.

And to every single one of you who participated and those who followed along on the adventure. Thank you.

So, what’s next?

Everyone has been asking. There will not be a Charcutepalooza 2012, but the posts will be here, so you could actually do the whole year by starting with the first challenge and working through to December. The community is still active on Twitter, so if you have a question, just hashtag #Charcutepalooza and see what happens.

I will be writing about more meaty adventures, along with other preserving projects. There is jam to be made, pickles to brine, and tomatoes to put in jars. I am learning to make fresh cheeses and will soon be writing about it, and I’m working on other projects here and there. The list of posts half started and the ideas jotted down will finally get attention.

I have been called a serial careerist, and I’ll admit, that’s true. Once again, my life is in transition. 2012 holds so much promise already.

I have closed down my landscape design business. The economy was changing the nature of the work, it was less satisfying and the lure of the kitchen was just too much. Today it occured to me that my cooking process is no different than the way a landscape design forms. My mind so filled with ideas that Dennis says he misses me. Covering the walls of my studio with inspiring photos and more sketches, piles of books joining eraser dust on the floor. Sketch madly, scraps of trace with pavement patterns and tree placement and driveway curves littering the drafting table. The final product, weeks in the making, hand drawn, carefully colored with pencils and markers and water colors. Models constructed of paper maché, balsa wood and copper wire, twisted to resemble tiny trees.

Now, cookbooks pile up, counters are flour dusted, sinks full of dishes, bowls of food in various stages tucked here and there around the kitchen. And a camera at hand. The final product, the post, the essay, the recipe carries with it all of that experience.

Beyond the creative satisfaction of cooking and developing recipes, there is an unmistakable need to write. To get words on the page. To corral my busy mind by editing and crafting and moving phrases here and there. I’m edgy and anxious when too much time has passed between blog posts, when I feel that gnawing sense of words piling up in my head.

So, in 2012, I am pursuing the life of a food writer. I have three assignments already, which both thrills and terrifies every cell in my body.

The first step is to redesign this site a bit. With any luck (and with the able help of Barb Kiebel, a renovated Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen will be revealed in the next ten days. In the meantime, if you come to visit and things are wonky, please be patient.

Here’s to 2012. It’s going to be an exciting year, I just know it.


savory tarts for this, or any, time of year

We are coming to the end of party season. The time of year when we invite friends and neighbors into our homes, cook like crazy, add a little more butter, cream, bacon to our meals. I love this time of year for all the excuses there are to celebrate and I’m resolving as of today to do more entertaining throughout the year. Why save all this merriment for December?

There is so much I am celebrating this year. It’s been quite a transformative time, these last 12 months, and I had many people to thank, some culinary skills I wanted to show off (charcuterie, fresh cheesemaking, liquor-making,) and a freezer full of goodness. Time to party.

One of the great benefits of Charcutepalooza was the focused attention each month. Producing some form of charcuterie on a regular schedule resulted in a freezer bursting with plastic bags. When am I going to get a vacuum sealer?

The guest list was clear, the number of people limited by the number of holiday napkins (16.) I began planning the menu two weeks ahead, organizing recipes, shopping lists, and reviewing serving dishes. I hired Elsa-the-Amazing, a Bolivian woman who has helped me pull off several ambitious parties. We work very well together.

The biggest challenge was the holiday tree standing square in the middle of the doorway from dining room to living room, making circulation hazardous, unruly, and frustrating. We considered taking the tree down, but what’s a holiday party without a tree? Plus we wanted to show off the new Louie ornament.

So, circulation be damned. I arranged the party carefully. Starting in the living room, where we were cozy, in a ’60s retro cocktail party way. One bite, passed hors d’oeuvres. On the sideboard, an offering of charcuterie and Elaine’s favorite radishes with sweet butter and truffle salt.

Rosé cremant d’Alsace. a bubbly pink accompaniment. Anchor Steam’s holiday beer another option.

From the dining room, an easy buffet – cassoulet, a big, glorious cassoulet – cooked in the Gascogne cassoule (a gift from Kate.) An acidic salad. We nosh standing or perched anywhere – living room, kitchen, tv room. Alsatian Reislings were the wines of the evening. We don’t serve red wine at buffet dinners. That’s ok, right? I kicked over one glass of bubbly and broke another while cleaning up after the party. Clearly, I would be the one spilling the red wine on our white chairs. Know thyself.

Finally, into Dennis’ office/acupuncture space, converted to a post dinner gathering spot for oozy cheeses, fruits, sweets, coffee, and an indecent collection of digestifs – both house-made as well as a few collected while traveling. We couldn’t get the Bose to work w/Pandora on my phone – so frustrating! I had hoped for dancing. Dennis thought I was crazy. Have since determined that my new phone is not compatible with the older Bose. It’s also possible my husband is not compatible with dancing.

I’m committed to more entertaining in 2012. It’s a great way to focus my curiousities, use all my organizing and project management skills and learn something new. And it’s always such a treat to connect with people, introduce friends to friends and take a moment to sit, engage, talk, laugh and look people in the eye.

Last night, we raised a glass to thank the Meat Freaks. The gang of five who helped me make and eat charcuterie all year long. I love you all.

And today, I’m raising a glass to all of you, my dear, sweet readers. Thank you for the support, the comments, the feedback, the sharing, the friendships. My wish is for each of you to have your own transformative year. Open your heart. It’s amazing what happens. Happy New Year. xox

discovered in the 'fridge right after dessert. oh well.

Onion Comte Tart
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the Onion Comte:
  • 4 Tbls butter
  • 1 cup shallots
  • 6 c. onions, halved lengthwise then sliced in very thin half moons
  • 2 c. grated Comte
  • 4 Tbls. creme fraiche
  • 1 Tbls. fresh thyme
To Prepare the Comte:
  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy sauté pan until foaming. Add the shallots and the onions and cook on medium until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place the comté, creme fraiche and thyme in a large bowl and mix well. Add the onions and stir well, allowing the cheese to mostly melt.
  3. Taste and correct seasonings. Allow the mixture to cool thoroughly. May be made a day ahead.
To make the Mini-tartlettes:
  1. Roll out the pie dough to ⅛" thickness and cut out 12 3" circles, then tuck the circles into a mini-muffin pan. Two dough disks will make 24 tartlettes, rerolling once. Add a heaping tablespoon scoop of filling to each, then bake at 350° for about 17 minutes. Cool completely, then use a flexible offset spatula to remove the tarts from the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For eight first course sized appetizers:
  1. Portion the two pie dough disks into eight pieces then roll out each to a rough circle, 5" in diameter and ⅛" thick.
  2. Place the dough circles on a parchment lined baking sheet, four tarts to a sheet. Add about ⅓ cup of the filling to the center of each disk, pat out to an even thickness, leaving a large border around the edge.
  3. Fold in the dough, pleating here and there, to make eight small individual rustic tarts. Bake at 375° for about 22-25 minutes.
Of course, you can also just form a large rustic tart and serve slices. Halve the onion recipe, use one pie crust, and make one 9-10" circle. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes.

Here’s the complete menu. Items in italics were made and forgotten in the kitchen. The sign of a good party.

Onion and Comté Mini Tartlettes
Deep fried olives
Roasted dates with homemade mascarpone, honey and salt
Candied Bacon (crack on a stick)
Asparagus spears wrapped with gravlax and a creamy dill mustard sauce, left in the refrigerator
Pork belly rillettes with armagnac mustard and pickles
Radishes with sweet butter and truffle salt
Tamari almonds
Cassoulet with rabbit, duck confit and saucisse de Toulouse, ventreche and couenne
Vegetarian cassoulet with garlicky bread crumbs
Roasted endive, left in the oven
Arugula salad, shallot honey fig vinaigrette and parmesian tuiles
Cheeses – Epoisses, St Andre, Humbolt Fog
Apples, blood oranges, grapes, cherries
Quetsch plum and hazelnut conserve
Prunes in Armagnac, left on the counter
Homemade Creme fraiche ice cream (Thank you, David Lebovitz! Ah-Maz-Ing.)
Laurie Colwin’s gingerbread (Read Home Cooking. Again or for the first time. Just read it.)
Homesick Texan’s Mexican Chocolate Chewies (Buy this cookbook. These one bowl easy-peasy cookies are reason enough, but the rest of the recipes look terrific.)
Holiday candies
Coffee and Tea
Digestifs: Vin de Pampelmousse, Slivovitz, Limoncello, Pear Cordial (Thank you, Winnie Abramson,) Creme de Violette, Sauerkirsch Brandy, Armagnac

And as a going home gift, a jar of my homemade Rumtopf. A happy takeaway – for everyone.

charcutepalooza. the semi-finalists.

A year ago, my little hobby, what Dennis called my “meat thing,” connected via Twitter with Kim Foster’s curiousity and a cheeky title, to become Charcutepalooza. It just happened in a crazy stroke of synchronicity. And then… along came sponsors, Food52, a huge grand prize, and, suddenly, there were all of you.

Kim and I, we’ve come to know you this year. And you’ve come to know each other. Your blog posts, photos, questions, comments, your Facebook and Twitter participation, it’s all brought you into our lives and we’re a little bereft at the thought of saying goodbye.

The last few days, reading all your posts, has been incredibly affirming. We knew you were into it, but, wow. Until a year-full of posts were digested, we didn’t know how Charcutepalooza would be changing lives, stirring up memories, creating new relationships, bringing you to career decisions, and building enduring friendships.

I’ve avoided writing this post. You should see the tasks that have been accomplished in the avoidance. My closets are so orderly. Even the pantry is tidy. The larder jars are lined up perfectly. The ironing is all done.

You see, I don’t want to say goodbye to the Year of Meat. It’s been the most remarkable experience. A year ago, if you had said 2011 would have me skinning a beef tongue, boiling trotters, handily breaking down a lamb shoulder, learning charcuterie and butchery in Gascony, and fearlessly serving cured meats to friends, family, and members of the press  … well, I would have said you were crazy.

More than anything, I never would have believed 2011 would bring me so many new friends. Cooks and chefs and meat-mavens who have my utter respect. What you all do is extraordinary. Thank you for bringing it each and every month.

There were cross-cultural bahn-mi, are-you-kidding-me pierogies with duck confit, and the most beautiful mousseline transformed to ravioli. There were the stories – couples working together friendships forged while conquering casings, a family’s final Thanksgiving, memories of a Croque-Monsieur. There were glorious condiments, stunning photography, and more.

I get it. Charcutepalooza changed my life, too. I will be conscious of the meat on my plate, and ask its history. I don’t see a reason to eat meat that has been slaughtered thoughtlessly. I have adopted and embraced the seed to sausage view I learned in Gascony. And through the year, I’ve seen you all take on the same meaty responsibility – it’s the soul of a charcutiére.

I like to think we have all grown more conscious, more compassionate. I see it in your writing – the grace and good will, your nose to tail talents in the kitchen, your ability to change the lives of people near you. Thank you all so much. It’s been such a pleasure cooking with you.

Let’s all give a big meaty thank you to our generous sponsors. D’Artagnan, offering substantial discounts every month, Barbara Kiebel, web maven, who saved my cracklin’s more times than I can count, and especially Kate Hill and Camont, Trufflepig, and Armagnac Casterede, planning the week of Charcute-folie for the lucky grand prize winner.

Forced to decide on six finalists, we couldn’t. We had to choose ten. The judges have these posts and are reviewing them now. Best of luck to the semi-finalists.

In our minds, you are all winners.

The next step.

On December 29th the two finalists will be announced on Food52. The Food52 community will be voting from 12/29-1/3, and the Grand Prize winner will be announced on January 4, 2012.

Congratulations to the ten semifinalists.

ACookBlog  I bought Charcuterie when it first came out, mostly using it for whole-muscle cuts. Now I’m comfortable and confident with pretty much any technique, and it’s a regular part of my life. Charcutepalooza gets the credit for that transformation. – Peter Barrett

BiteMeNewEngland  Charcutepalooza has  changed the way I cook.  It has given me the confidence to cook or make just about anything.  It made me into a fearless home cook. It also allowed me to meet a group of amazing people. – Janis Tester

ButchersApprentice This year of Charcutepalooza provided challenges for hands and mind, encouraged creativity and perseverance, and sustained me through tough times. Relationships with friends, farmers, and family were strengthened, and new friendships with inspiring and generous charcuterie enthusiasts were born. My bottom line: making beautiful food for the people I love. – Iliana Filby

Dabblings&Whimsey My goals for participating in Charcutepalooza were to learn something new, challenge myself, try my hand at creating recipes, and have fun. I like to think I succeeded. In addition, I gained a new appreciation and respect for the art of preserving meats, and met some amazing people. Thank you. – Amanda Benoit

HoundsintheKitchen  As a semi-experienced charcutier, I undertook Charcutepalooza to explore food writing through meat curing. I recorded each challenge in a unique format from fiction to opinion to humor to video. In stretching my skills, I experienced how difficult and rewarding it is to write about a meaty subject. – Rachel Tayse

InspiredByWolf  Two themes stand out in summing up my Charcutepalooza experience: knowledge, and community. Charcutepalooza let my knowledge develop and put a structure around my meat curing efforts. Also, I have been amazed at the power of the Charcutepalooza community. It is an informative, friendly, supportive and wonderful place to be. – Kirsten Wright

Naomaly As a newcomer to blogging and twitter, it was amazing to witness the bond formed within an online community of strangers, who entertained, assisted, and inspired me to levels of culinary achievement I never dreamed possible.  Also, I learned how to clean chunks of meat off my ceiling. Naomi Lee Baumol

NicCooks Charcutepalooza has opened my eyes to the world of homemade meat.  I have been very excited to learn how to make charcuterie from scratch. It has also introduced me to a fantastic group of people with whom I shall stay in touch with for many years post Charcutepalooza. Nic Midgley

OneVanillaBean I can’t believe I made it this far along. The year of meat that started with duck prosciutto, turned into more than I could have ever imagined. Making charcuterie from scratch has been incredibly fulfilling. I’m so very grateful for all I’ve learned and everyone I’ve met in this journey.- Cecilia Stoute

Vivek’sEpicureanAdventure Amazing. Unbelieveable. I was an amateur. I tried something new. Sometimes, I succeeded. Sometimes, I failed. But I always learned a lesson: Don’t be afraid. Get out of your comfort zone. Your community will support you always. Share what you love to do. Be respectful. Eat good and be happy. Vivek Surti

Meat The Competition

Congratulations to these Charcutepalooza-ers – each of whom completed all twelve of the monthly challenges. From this incredibly talented group, we will be selecting the semi-finalists – to be announced December 15th.

A Cook Blog

Biscuits of Today

Bite Me New England

The Butcher’s Apprentice

Chow Eng Down

Curing the Heart

Dabblings & Whimsey




Eat Live Travel Write

Foodie Lawyer


Hounds in the Kitchen

In Linda’s Kitchen

In Scott’s Kitchen

Inspired by Wolfe

Jon in Albany

Leave Me the Oink

Moe’s Kitchen


Nic Cooks

Notes from Home Plates

One Vanilla Bean

Pig in a Pen

Saffron and Salt

Snappy Service Cafe

Saint Tigerlily

Taste Food

Tasting Notes from the Edge

The Messy Epicure

Vivek’s Epicurian Adventures

With Food and Love