Advanced Salumi Course
24–28 October 2013 (5 places left), 23–27 January, 20–24 March 2014
A collaboration with Slow Food Warwickshire, UK, and Garfagnana and Versilia, Italy
Course designed and led by Giancarlo Russo, National Coordinator for Slow Food Italy on meat topics and co‐author of Salumi d'Italia
On this course you will learn the theoretical and practical elements of making a wide variety of Tuscan salumi (cured pork products). You will work with a number of experienced Italian norcini (pork butchers) in hands-on sessions during which you may take notes, photos and videos. You will also receive a printed set of course notes. Previous participants have been able to return home and make the salumi they learned on the course, and have the confidence to experiment with their own recipes.
Course suitable for pig breeders, butchers, chefs and amateurs who want to make their own salumi. Maximum course size: 7 people.
Course at a glance
Arrival at Pisa airport or Viareggio or Pisa train station no later than 2.45 pm (one transfer to B&B, Camaiore will be provided at 2.45 pm)
Session 1: Introduction and theory with Giancarlo Russo
Welcome dinner at private Italian home
Session 2: Making sausages, salami and lardo with norcino Bacci
Tasting lunch at Bacci's
Session 3: Garfagnana salumi with the Nutinis
Transfer to agriturismo Venturo
Dinner at Venturo
Session 4: Pig to salumi with norcino Turri (butchering the pig, shaping the prosciutto, salting the pancetta
Lunch at Venturo
Session 5: Do it yourself (sausages and salami) and visit maturing cellars
Dinner at Il Vecchio Mulino, Castelnuovo
Session 6: Less noble parts of the pig with Turri (soppressata, biroldo)
Session 7: Visit pigs
Lunch at Venturo
Session 8: Q&A and review with Giancarlo
Session 9: Salumi and wine workshop with Giancarlo
Dinner at Il Pozzo, Pieve Fosciana
Depart (one transfer from B&B will be provided after 7:00 am)
Extend your stay – ask about
Extra workshop Watch production run with butchers who are masters of efficiency and of their craft (max 5 people).
Guided day tours to visit a cheesemaker, make bread in a wood-fired oven with a village baker, pick olives and visit olive press, visit a vineyard, tour one of the famous Lucca villas, walking tour of Lucca and much more.
Arrive Pisa airport or train station and transfer to B&B
One pick-up only no later than 14.45.
Session 1: Introduction and theory with Giancarlo Russo
- What you will do with norcini (pork butchers)
- Suitable pigs and Italian cuts of pork
- Key steps in preparing the pork
- Boning, division into joints and rifilatura (shaping) the pieces
- Pork skin
- The mixture for salami and appropriate casings
- Drying and maturing salami
Welcome dinner at Italian home
Gabriella Lazzarini has invited us to her home for dinner. Seafood is her great love. She buys from family fishermen who sell their catches at the nearby Viareggio molo (no endangered species here).
Breakfast and departure from B&B
Session 2: Insaccati (meat in 'sacks') with Massimo Bacci
- Sausages, salami (mortadella nostrale): cleaning shoulder, selecting meat, grinding, seasoning with spices and wine, filling casings, tying, drying and maturing salami
- Lardo: salting, seasoning and curing in marble basins
Lunch: Tasting at Massimo Bacci
Session 3: Garfagnana salumi with Fabio & Paolo Nutini
- Mondiola salami and salted beef demonstrations, maturing in a natural cellar
- Tasting of Nutini products
Transfer to Agriturismo Venturo, Pieve Fosciana
Dinner at Venturo
Session 4: From pig to salumi with Ismaele Turri
- Cutting into joints
- Rifilatura (shaping leg for prosciutto)
- Curing a prosciutto (how not to waste a pig's leg)
- Preparation of joints to make salami and sausages
- Salting pancetta
Lunch at Venturo
Session 5: Do it yourself
- Make your own sausages and salami under the guidance of Ismaele
- Visit the drying room and maturing cellars
Dinner at Il Vecchio Mulino, Castelnuovo
A tasting menu at Andrea's parallel gastronomic universe
Session 6: Soppressata (head cheese) & biroldo (blood sausage) with Ismaele Turri
- Which parts of the pig, cooking, chopping, seasoning, filling casings
Session 7: Visit free-range cross breed pigs
- While the pig simmers, we visit Ismaele's live pigs. Then we return to the workshop to finish the soppressata and biroldo.
Lunch at Il Venturo
Session 8: Review and Q&A session with Giancarlo Russo
- Review of practical sessions and question time
- Where to mature salumi
- Some typical salami recipes
- Presentation of course certificates
Session 6: Salumi & wine workshop
- The theory and practice of pairing salumi and wines
Farewell dinner at Il Pozzo, Pieve Fosciana
Transfer to Pisa airport or Pisa train station
Only one transfer to airport or station will be provided to suit earliest departure (departure from agriturismo no earlier than 7.00 am to arrive at airport / station at 8.30 am).
Villa Lombardi, Camaiore
A family villa that has been restored preserving its historic features. Maria Grazia Lombardi is the perfect hostess and serves mouthwatering breakfasts.
Agriturismo 'Il Venturo', Pieve Fosciana
A working farm with farm buildings converted to comfortable rustic accommodation (en suite bathrooms). On-site bar and restaurant, swimming pool, stables opposite.
Giancarlo designed and leads our Courses with Artisans Advanced Salumi Course. He was Marketing Director for Mars-Nivea and American Express until he bailed out to adopt a slower, more personally rewarding way of life. Since then he has gained a wide range of qualifications and experience in the field of artisanal food:
- Co-author of Slow Food Guide Salumi d'Italia
- October 2009 — Designed and taught Master of Food Salumi for Slow Food Versilia, a 4-part course covering meaning of terms, history, diffusion of pig, how to taste, cuts of pork, classification of products, pig breeds, influence of system of rearing on quality, the skins (natural and synthetic), how pig is prepared, how cuts are made into final products, function of salt and spices, techniques of ageing and conserving, techniques for dealing with less used animals (goose, horse, etc.), description of the principal cured pork products, purchase and conserving salumi at home, how to slice various types of salumi, salumi and wine, salumi in cooking, tasting of quality Italian salumi.
- Lecturer at Universita' Gastronomica di Pollenzo (Slow Food)
- Master Cheese Taster (ONAF-National Organization of Cheese Tasters)
- Levoni Salumi – 25 focused training sessions for groceries related to tasting techniques for cured meat and identification of defects
- Since 2000 Stagionatori d'Arno (Reggello, FI) – Partner and President of the Board. Start-up activity for selection, ageing, refining and selling of high-quality Tuscan artisanal salumi and cheeses
- Leader of Slow Food Casentino
Massimo and his father work together curing pork and running their butcher shop. They make only a few products (sausages, soppressata, three types of mortadella nostrale — not the mortadella you know, but a type of salami — coppa, lingua salmistrata and lardo). No preservatives, colorants or lactose come within miles of their products; their soppressata is beige. They mature their mortadella and coppa in a temperature and humidity controlled room instead of a cellar, but they stay as near as possible to cellar conditions to encourage the mould necessary to proper maturation. Their lardo is cured in marble conche like those used at Colonnata. The Accademia delle 5T (Territory, Tradition, Typical, Traceability, Transparency) nominated their mortadella nostrale for inclusion in the last all-Italy salami competition.
Fabio & Paolo Nutini
Paolo is the latest of 50 generations of Nutini to carry on the butcher's craft. His father Fabio still works with him. They personally select their meat which comes from the Garfagnana immediately to the north of them. They are active in preserving local breeds. They use a drying cupboard and their cellar for maturation. The motto outside their door is: 'Love your butcher because he is the person who chooses for you'.
Ismaele learned his butchering and salumi skills from his father. He still ages his prosciutto and salami in a cellar rather than in a modern purpose-built cabinet. On his farm he rears free-range cross-breed pigs and cultivates the primitive grains farro (Triticum dicoccum) and formenton otto file (eight-row maize). He gets immense pleasure from teaching, which was evident when I went to watch him make salami and ended up with a hands-on lesson.
Following her careers as archaeologist, orchestra and artist manager and chef, Heather came to Lucca to pursue her passion for traditional artisan food. Her tours, inspired by her infectious curiosity, open captivating new worlds to her guests.
Prices & What's Included
Per person: €1180 (Euros)
Non-participant in same room: €350 (Euros)
Extension workshop: €375 (Euros) per person
4 nights welcoming, relaxing accommodation, en suite bathrooms
Local ground transportation for 5 days
Daily continental breakfast, 2 lunches, 4 dinners
Course lectures and sessions with norcini, course notes
Extension fee includes: morning workshop, 1 night accommodation and local ground transportation
Does not include
Travel and cancellation insurance
Wine and drinks other than those served with meals, additional meals
Personal expenses such as telephone, mini-bar, etc.
Extension fee does not include any meals
Pisa airport, Pisa Centrale train station
Recommended international travel
Arrival time: not later than 14.30
Departure time: no earlier than 10.00
Nearest airport: Pisa
Airlines from UK: British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair
Airlines from USA: You have to fly to another European city and take a connecting flight or train to Pisa Centrale. There are good train connections from Rome.
Nearest train stations: Pisa Centrale
Informal. Jeans are acceptable everywhere.
Weather in November
6–15˚C/43–59˚F, precipitation 122 mm/4.8 in
Weather in January
2–11˚C/36–52˚F, precipitation 74 mm/2.9 in
Weather in March
4–14˚C/40–58˚F, precipitation 76 mm/3 in
Itinerary is subject to change if necessary due to weather or agricultural conditions or other events outside our control.
What People Say
I can’t let this opportunity pass without thanking you for an amazing six days and telling you that you have a fantastic product in the salumi course. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it and feel invigorated after it with an appetite for rolling up my sleeves and getting down to curing and ageing. I found the extension day extremely valuable as an addition to the main course. The norcini we visited were very knowledgeable, skilled and made salumi in a completely different manner to all the previous ones we visited. I would recommend that anyone with the time available cannot afford to miss the opportunity to do the extension.
We had a fantastic time learning with the butchers and this will help our plans to start delving into making some test products.
I found the course offered a fantastic insight into the otherwise hidden world of Italian artisan ‘charcuterie’. The opportunity to meet passionate and traditional craftsman at work was extremely useful and utterly mesmerising. It really highlighted the true differences between British and Continental butchery.
As an industry professional I appreciated the manner in which you conducted the course. You and Giancarlo hold a wealth of information from which I learned so much. The personal interaction and ability to talk with other experts was priceless. Pair this with the gorgeous Tuscan countryside as a backdrop, wonderful people and food around every corner and you have a gem of a trip! I would recommend this course to other industry professionals looking to get back to the artisanal way of doing things.
Pete’s photographic diary of the salumi course: https://www.icloud.com/journal/#02;CAEQARoQqxZho3s-Zu9bgrXVfjdo8A;1655B45A-9783-47E3-A434-A328BD59244A
I have learnt more in four hours with Massimo Bacci than in the whole of the last four months back in the factory reading books and experimenting. It’s a brilliant experience.
This course was an amazing insight into the methods and superb skills of the local producers of Tuscany. If you are serious about Italian Salumi techniques, this is the course for you. Giancarlo and Heather are such knowledgeable guides and translators and this adds another dimension to an already action packed tour. It really is amazing value for money in a stunning location, and meeting these producers is the key to knowledge that simply isn't available anywhere else.
3 weeks after end of course:
So far I’m making salsiccia regularly and they are going down a storm. This week I’m doing a roast porchetta and my first prosciutto, and next week we will be attempting our first Tuscan salami so keep the fingers crossed, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.
7 weeks after end of course:
Salamis looking good so far – lovely mould developing not quite matured enough yet but I did try one yesterday and it was quite passable!
8 weeks after end of course:
They are squisito! Two types – first was in the style that Massimo showed us, quite smooth with a fantastic flavour. Second was a more Tuscan style with red wine etc, lovely flavours again, just needs to mature for longer.
14 weeks after end of course (23 Jan 2012):
We’re pretty busy already this year, and just put down our first Lancashire Prosciutto – I’m like an expectant father!
8 months after end of course (Jun 2012):
My latest batch of Coppa went down a storm at a food show here in the North West – sold out in an hour!
Thank you to both you and Giancarlo for a fantastic course. I’ve been on a high ever since. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every bit of the experience, and while it was quite busy with not a lot of free time, I’m so grateful for that, as I learnt so much more and tasted such wonderful food. I would happily recommend the course to others, and can’t wait to get started making more salami now that the weather is cool. Thanks again Heather, for such a great experience, and your enthusiasm, which made the weekend all the more interesting and informative.
I learned so much from the week Curtis and I spent with you. I would certainly call it an excellent beginning, and I’m sure that we will have a much better outcome from our efforts now.
I want to thank you for arranging such a fantastic course. Both Andrew and I have returned to England with a much greater knowledge of salumi. You provided us with a real insight into Tuscan food culture. We thoroughly enjoyed all the extras you arranged; the meal provided by Gabriella and the soup competition were fantastic experiences which we would never have had the opportunity to enjoy as tourists. We look forward to putting all our new found knowledge into practice.