Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany
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2023: November 23–28
2024: January 11–16 | March 7–12 | November (to be announced)
Availability 2023: Nov 6 places | 2024: Jan 7 places | Mar 7 places
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On this course you will learn the theoretical and practical elements of making a wide range 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.
If you’ve already attended this course, treat yourself to our course in Reggio Emilia and Parma
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Course at a glance
Arrival at Pisa airport or Pisa Centrale train station no later than 2.30 pm (one transfer to hotel, Pietrasanta, will be provided no later than 2.45 pm) or Pietrasanta. You may not drive your own car during the course. If you want to arrive by car, you may park it at Pisa airport. Please ask for details.
Session 1: Introduction and theory with Erica Jarman
Session 2: Making sausages, salami and lardo with norcino Massimo Bacci
Tasting lunch at Bacci’s
Session 3: Lardo di Colonnata with Fausto Guadagni
Pizza for dinner
Transfer to Agriturismo Venturo
Session 4: Pig to salumi with norcino Ismaele Turri (butchering the pig, the Modena cut, shaping the prosciutto and spalla, pancetta, salting whole pieces)
Lunch at Venturo
Session 5: Less noble parts of the pig with Turri (soppressata)
Dinner at a private home, Gallicano
Session 6: Do it yourself (sausages, salami, cotechino) and visit maturing cellars
Lunch at Venturo
Session 7: Visit pigs
Session 8: Q&A and review with Erica
Dinner at Al Laghetto, Fabbriche di Vallico
Session 10: Prosciutto-in-depth
Transfer and free afternoon in Lucca
Session 11: Expand and deepen what you’ve already learned: production run at the Rocchi family salumificio
Transfer to Lucca or Pisa Centrale station or Pisa airport. We can get you to any of these by 2.15 pm. When booking your travel, please allow enough time to get to your station platform or for check-in and security at airport.
Extend your stay – ask about
Guided day tours to visit a cheesemaker, make bread in a wood-fired oven with a village baker, pick olives and visit olive press, walking tour of Lucca and much more.
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Arrive Pisa airport or Pisa Centrale train station and transfer to Hotel Palagi, Pietrasanta (45 mins) or take train directly to Pietrasanta (to arrive before 4 pm)
One pick-up only no later than 14.30
You may not drive your own car during the course. If you want to arrive by car, you may park it at the airport during the course. Please ask for details of a very reasonably priced car park.
4.00 pm Session 1: Introduction and theory with Erica Jarman
Accommodation: Hotel Palagi, Pietrasanta | Meals: Dinner
Breakfast and departure from Hotel Palagi, transfer to Macelleria Bacci, Montignoso
Session 2: Insaccati (meat in ‘sacks’) with Massimo Bacci
Lunch: Tasting at Massimo Bacci
Transfer to Larderia Colonnata, Colonnata (Massa-Carrara)
Session 3: Lardo di Colonnata IGP with Fausto Guadagni
Transfer to Fornaci di Barga
Pizza at Trovaposo, Fornaci di Barga
Transfer to Agriturismo Venturo, Pieve Fosciana
Accommodation: Agriturismo Venturo, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Session 4: From pig to salumi with Ismaele Turri
Lunch at Venturo
Session 5: Soppressata (head cheese) and maturing with Ismaele Turri
Optional visit to butcher shop of Luigi Angelini for tasting of best biroldo of the Garfagnana
Transfer to Fiattone-Campo
Dinner at private home Prato del Sole
Massimo & Mara serve seasonal dishes with ingredients from their own backyard.
Accommodation: Agriturismo Venturo, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Session 6: Do it yourself
Lunch at Venturo: tasting of Ismaele’s salumi
Session 7: Visit Ismaele’s pigs
Session 8: Review and Q&A with Erica Jarman
Transfer to Turritecava (Gallicano)
Dinner Al Laghetto
Utterly quirky restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Spoiler: you'll never forget La Bomba
Accommodation: Agriturismo Venturo, Pieve Fosciana | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transfer to Norcineria La Vinchiana, Vinchiana
Session 10: Prosciutto in depth with Antonio Lena
Tasting lunch at La Vinchiana
Transfer to Lucca
Free afternoon in Lucca
Dinner: Find your own (not included in course fee)
Accommodation: Il Seminario, Lucca | Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Departure from hotel
Breakfast on the way to Matraia
Session 11: Production run at Salumificio Rocchi
The crowning glory of the course is the visit to the Rocchi family salumificio at Matraia. Since their pork arrives on Monday afternoon, Gino, his father and his uncle do their weekly production run on Tuesday morning. The best things are worth waiting for. This session is both a summary and a deepening of all you’ve learned on the course. Additionally, you’ll find out how to organise your production efficiently in a short time, with few hands and little space.
Transfer to Lucca or Pisa airport or station
There will be one transfer at 13.00 (depending on how long you loiter over lunch). It takes 20 minutes to get to Lucca, 1 hour to get to Pisa. Please don’t book trains that leave Pisa before 14.30 or flights that leave before 15.00. If you need to leave earlier, I can arrange a special transfer at your own expense.
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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.
Antonio & Daniele Lena
Antonio Lena and his son Daniele continue to make salumi according to their family tradition, so far in its fifth generation. They are one of the few norcinerie that still salt their own prosciutti and mature a few of them, allowing us to see prosciutto at every phase of its 12-month or longer lifespan. As in the Parma area, they send most of them to be aged at a specialist prosciuttificio, this one near Lucca. But they are building two new maturing rooms specially for prosciutto, reversing the loss of the Tuscan tradition at the family level.
Ismaele learned his butchering and salumi skills from his father and other great norcini of that generation. There is nothing he doesn't know about meat. 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 the first time I went to watch him make salami and ended up with a hands-on lesson.
In 2017 and 2018 he went to Ethiopia several times to help open a new butcher shop and teach the staff to make salumi. The owner of the start-up, Yonatan Jembere, wrote about Ismaele:
'My friends all love him and come to see him every day. And a group of them want to visit him in Tuscany. They think he is amazing — hard worker, tough, goes to neighborhoods some of them would never go to buy things, he is never angry, he gets along with everyone, he knows how to do everything.'
Severino & Gino Rocchi
Gino (left) has a degree in economics, but found working in a bank insupportable. He returned to join his father Severino (middle) and uncle Ubaldo (right) producing typical Lucchesi salumi as they have for four generations. They are a model of efficiency, making their entire week’s production on Tuesday mornings. They grind their own spices and mature their produce in natural conditions—or they did before global warning. From Gino you learn the challenges of yearning to stay true to tradition while being forced to modernise.
Fausto and his fellow lardo producers of Colonnata are latter-day alchemists. They have discovered the trick of turning humble pork fat into gold with their Lardo di Colonnata IGP. But Fausto is special because he amuses himself playing games with lardo. Separate from his huge production of lardo cured in brine seasoned with the 12 herbs and spices allowed by the IGP, he maintains a small marble-lined cell, which you enter through a half-height door, in which he stows antique marble boxes for experiments with marble cured with alcoholic beverages, berries, fruit and leaves.
Following Heather’s careers as archaeologist, orchestra and artist manager and chef, she Italianised her name to Erica and 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. She has been attending her own salumi course several times a year since 2010.
Hotel Palagi, Pietrasanta
A 3-star hotel opposite the mediaeval gate of Pietrasanta, where Michelangelo came to choose his marble. From 1700s it was a staging post where couriers changed their horses. Now modernised with comfortable rooms and welcoming staff. If you want to start the course in style, you can upgrade to the penthouse apartment (at your own expense). Hotel bar, abundant breakfast buffet, wifi in rooms.
Agriturismo 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. www.agriturismoventuro.com
Per person: 1550 Euros | from November 2023: 1790 Euros
Non-participant in same room: 450 Euros
Deposit: €300 when you book
Balance: due 8 weeks before course starts
5 nights welcoming, relaxing accommodation, single or double room with en suite bathroom
Local ground transportation for 6 days
Daily continental breakfast, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
Course lectures and sessions with norcini, course notes
Non-participant fee includes: accommodation in same room as participant, transfers with participant to and from airport or station, daily continental breakfast, dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
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.
Where: Pisa airport, Pisa Centrale station (Lucca station is also possible)
When: no later than 14.30
If everyone arrives earlier, we'll pick you up as soon as everyone is there.
If you have to arrive later, you can take a taxi at your own expense. You will probably miss the introductory session.
Recommended international travel:
Nearest airport: Pisa
Airlines from UK: British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair
Airlines from outside Europe: You may have to fly to another European city and take a connecting flight or train to Pisa Centrale. There are good low-cost flights from many European cities. There are better train connections from Rome than from Milan.
Nearest train station: Pisa Centrale
Pisa airport, Pisa Centrale station (Lucca station is also possible)
There will be one transfer at about 13.00 (depending on how long you loiter over lunch). It takes 20 minutes to get to Lucca, 1 hour to get to Pisa. Please don’t book trains that leave Pisa before 14.30 or flights that leave before 15.30. If you need to leave earlier, I can arrange a special transfer at your own expense.
Informal. Jeans are acceptable everywhere. Protective aprons and hats will be provided.
11–21˚C/52–70˚F, precipitation 119 mm/4.7 in
6–15˚C/43–59˚F, precipitation 122 mm/4.8 in
2–11˚C/36–52˚F, precipitation 74 mm/2.9 in
3–12˚C/37–54˚F, precipitation 69 mm/2.7 in
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.
To request a booking form email firstname.lastname@example.org
Expectations were very high, but it was even better than expected! You have fueled our passion even more. Our group of butchers feel connected, we realize that life moves too fast for us. From the first contact there was good communication and everything went smoothly. Thank you for your professional expertise. We highly recommend you.
7 top Belgian craft butchers: Mark Noordijk, Kurt Joris, Cedric Mortier (winner of best Belgian butcher 2022–2025), Jan Neirinck, Nick Smismans, Christophe Soetaert, Filip van Vlierberghe, Salami in Depth Tuscany & Parma, January 2023
I am a professional chef living in France with a bit of experience making sausage and smoked meats. After searching for a class to deepen my knowledge and understanding of salumi making, I decided on signing up for Sapori & Saperi's Advanced Salumi Course in Tuscany. After five days of hands-on experience classes with multiple tremendously talented "norcinos" (pork butchers), I can definitely say that I am extremely satisfied with my choice. Not only were the classes superb, it was simply an amazing experience with other like minded foodie and salumi making aficionados. We all had a great time together and everyone agreed that the most important thing that we all came away with was confidence in ourselves to be able to produce our own delicious, professionally made salumi products in our own businesses.
Rachel Moeller, chef, France, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2022
A massive thank you to Erica for showing us some fantastic proper artisan producers. The thing I would say that is wonderful about this experience is meeting producers who have done things the same way for an age. When I get back, I am going to get back to doing things a lot more like I used to when I started. A lot more natural and by feel and a lot less science. Apparently I did know what I was doing before I let environmental health, trading standards, the food industry and SALSA change what we did. I think they have a lot to answer for.
Steve Williams, restauranteur, salumi producer, instructor at River Cottage, UK, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, January 2022
I'm so glad I decided to invest my time, energy, and money in this salumi course. It was completely worth it, and a really meaningful way to travel again. We gathered as a group of professionals, amateurs, chefs, and left as friends with a deeper knowledge of personalities and customs that are unique to Italy and the region. We learned what the product is, why it's distinctive, and how to make it. There was a lot of hands-on time making salumi, but also fun excursions and dinners that brought us all together to celebrate this foodway and the things we all have in common. I'll never forget meeting the norcini and their family members, young and old, who live and work with specialty meat, small farms, and a tradition that is endangered. I hope that future travelers will take this knowledge and make their own unique products, and appreciate this special time in Tuscany and the Garfagnana.
Anne Becker, farmer, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, March 2022
Thank you so much for making it possible to see so many people doing such great traditional work. It has been an outstanding chance to see and learn things that I think are not possible, or at least really hard, to organize oneself. The contacts you’ve build with those butchers who would probably not let anyone in their workspace are invaluable.
Ingrid Moorman, furniture restorer, home salumi producer, Netherlands, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, March 2022
What an absolutely awesome trip to Italy, learnt a lot, made some friends and had a great time doing it! Thank you Erica for all your knowledge and time. Check all the other courses available, it’s not all meat heavy! Follow @saporiesaperi to see a lot more! Take a course, you won’t regret it!
Marcus Davey, head chef, UK, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, January 2022
I really enjoyed attending the salumi course. It was great to meet the norcini and see them to perform their skills on producing salumi. Bacci gave an idea how to refine sausage in a simple way by adding wine and garlic,Guadagni showing many possibilities with curing lardo with different herbs and spices. For me the best was Pig to salumi with norcino Turri; a whole pig transformed into pure, simple salumi with great taste. The production run with the Rocchi family showed us how a family in a small workshop can produce many items in only one day a week. The quality of their salumi was amazing. Lunches and tastings were of a very good quality since they were delivered by the norcini we’d seen at work. Although there is not so much of really hands on for the attendents it is really good to see the norcini work and explain what they do step by step as in a masterclass for pro’s. There was more than enough opportunity to ask question and to gather information. The booklet Erica Jarman provides gives essential basic information so the attendents can really concentrate on seeing 'the masters at work'.
Pol Bruijs, furniture conservator and salumi amateur, Netherlands, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, March 2022
Erica was a very informative host with knowledge of salumi but also knowledge of the rich history of the region. As a chef and restaurateur, I will definitely recommend this course to my culinary colleagues and food loving friends.
Steven Rojas, chef/owner, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, January 2022
Having read several books and followed a number of YouTube instructional videos over a period of 18 months, my knowledge was definitely geared around the science of Salumi making and my mindset was very much stuck in this methodology. I knew there was more to it though. This course was a little like taking the red pill in “The Matrix”. My eyes and mind were opened to the truth! Once you are able to let go of the “science” you can learn the ART of making sublime products. I feel far more confident in my thought process now. The course is very well designed and the norcini’s are incredibly knowledgeable and take pride in teaching you their skills. Thoroughly recommended.
Jon Doody, producer of charcuterie, England, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2021
After seven years of experience, I thought I knew how to make salumi, but this course showed me I have a lot of space for improvement.
Vojtech Kalasek, chef-butcher, Czech Republic, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, January 2020
The winning element of the Sapori e Saperi course for me was the access to generations of knowledge that can only be carved out by time spent on a craft. In a world where everybody wants to know everything at the click of a button it was refreshing to tap into the minds of these talented norcini and experience the environment they thrive in. You can do all the research online and buy all the books you want but nothing will educate you on salumi like this. This is a tactile art, immersing yourself in their culture is the number one way to learn. Combined with the bonus that you leave making great new friends. I highly recommend it.
Craig Grozier, chef, Fallachan Dining, Scotland, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2019
As an artisan food producer myself it was interesting to see how other artisans work and gain a few little tips and tricks to create more intricately flavoured products. On the course you will get to experience what would be almost impossible to find anywhere else. The people that you see working a pig have spent many years devoted to the passion of salumi and are not afraid to let you into their little heaven and share some of their secrets with you. This is what you won't find on YouTube or in a book. Watch closely and listen well, there's a few things you might miss if you don't pay attention.
Michael Price, owner, Prices Spices & Cureights, England, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2021
I really enjoyed the course, the places we stayed in, the villages we visited were fantastic. The norcini were brilliant. It really felt like we were getting to see something not many people have access to. It was an eye opener! My mincer is being ordered soon. I can say with my notes and what I saw both technique and the spaces used for fermenting and maturing I am super confident to start making salumi and see where it goes from there.
Stephen McCafferty, chef, Germany, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany January 2020
I just wanted to get in touch to thank you again for a wonderful week in Tuscany. The course more than met expectations I must say. It was a real insight to the ways of the norcini. You really have done a fabulous job compiling all the different spots to visit.
Brian McCafferty, chef, Ireland, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany January 2020
A truly inspirational course! Such a pleasure & a privilege to have this type of access to such traditional methods of salumi production. The norcini's passion & dedication to their craft was wonderful to see. It would be extremely hard to see everything we saw by any other means.
From a chef's point of view this was not only inspirational but also extremely informative & relevant in terms of providing a foundation to begin producing my own products in the future. The skills we learnt will undoubtably become part of my repertoire in my own work environment in the future.
Stuart Smith, chef, Scotland, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2019
Obviously there is the knowledge and inspiration gained from seeing the artisans work their products, but my biggest take away was that raw meat is workable; that you can safely create salumi without a commercial, ultra sterile environment.
M Bickford, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, October 2019
I was lucky enough to start 2019 with a double header of courses with Erica, starting with the advanced salumi and moving on to gelato. Both courses were a joy, giving an authentic insight into age old traditions and techniques. I came away from the salumi course with confidence and a good understanding to set me on my way in producing some great salumi. Mirko guided us through the gelato course with great panache and his genius was plain to see. My gelato has been taken to the next level. Mirko’s ongoing support is truly genuine only being a text away if needed. Thank you Erica, the accommodation and evening meals added to the experience. You certainly have a gift to sniff out true artisans!
Robin Gosse, head chef on 90m super-yacht, UK, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany & Art & Science of Gelato, January & February 2019
I took part in an organised, six day tour. We visited several butchers, farms and such and were shown (and participated in) making prosciutto, salami, salsicce, lardo, coppa, soppressata and such. Really in depth, and not something you can easily get access to on your own. Small group, very experienced and knowledgable hosts/translators, real artisan butchers, and great food and wine, of course. Highly recommended. [Ed. As posted on reddit.com]
Yoast van Baardewijk, food writer, Netherlands, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2018
I had cured some basic things at home prior to this course. I was nervous about curing my own salumi and prosciutto at home based on some of the information that I had found regarding molds, temperature, humidity and the like. This course gave me a confidence and a wealth of information that makes me much more confident. As soon as I lock down a quality source for meats I will be curing a much wider variety of products at home for family and friends. If you want a hands-on, purpose driven education into artisanal meat curing... this is the course you should take.
Jarrod Jayne, home curer, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, February 2019
As always, Erica’s courses are so well organized, and the artisans she works with are incredible. It was such a privilege to learn from each one of them, and there were new and different techniques and information that each one brought to the table. The meals in private homes were also such a delightful opportunity to experience authentic Italian life expressed through local foods. We are so grateful for such an enriching experience, thank you Giancarlo, Erica, and all the wonderful Italians who opened their shops and homes to us!
Phil & Mindy Cottam, farmers, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2019
I would unhesitatingly recommend the advanced salumi course to anyone with an interest in curing meats or even just making food. 5 days embedded with folks making sausages, salami, and prosciutto with generations of experience. Terrific hands on experience in technique and materials. The accommodations are great and the meals are beyond any reasonable expectation. Fabulous course.
Doug Martin, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, November 2018
Attending this course has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Watching true artisans at work, doing what they know by heart has been an amazing experience. To watch different norcini that live relatively close to each other, do things in different ways, and end up with similar products, but with their own signature twist has been the most rewarding thing to see. This just proves that there is no right or wrong way to do things, as long as you stay within certain limits. I've learned so many new things and I return home with new ideas and techniques to make them work. The other day I taught a group of people how to make sausages and I already got to implement some of the new skills acquired from this course.
I will definitely sign up for more courses with you, and I will tell all of my friends about your existence and tell them to go to Italy!
Anton Wijk, butcher, Sweden, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, March 2018
Up to this point everything I had made was out of books and the internet and most time the instructions could be daunting, if not scary, as the recipes were like some kind of chemistry experiment. But I can tell you these guys kept it so so simple: no fillers, no dextrose, added bacteria, fermenting agents... just very high quality pork, proper ratio of salt and spice and let nature do its thing. A few pounds later I can attest the end product was all fantastic. Nothing like I've had before. I highly recommend this class for anyone really interested in the art of making salumi. The accommodations were great and all the meals were over the top. What really stood out though was the four norcini (Massimo, Simone, Ismaele and Gino) and Erica's and Giancarlo's appreciation and love of the craft.
Paul Lienhard, salumi enthusiast, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, March 2018
As a small scale hog farmer and butcher in the process of opening my own shop in Portland, OR, I’ve been looking for extra education around the craft of salumi as well as ideas and inspiration. I’m always hesitant to sign up for tours or courses when I travel because they can be really impersonal and often don’t deliver what they promise, so I felt like I was taking a big risk when I signed up for both courses at once. However they far exceeded my hopes. It was immediately clear to me how much Erica and Giancarlo care about the integrity of the courses and how hard they work to weave the knowledge and experience of the different artisans into a comprehensive educational experience of culture, tradition, and practical knowledge. I'm so excited to go home and integrate what I’ve learned into my own butchery.
Austin Piccone, pig farmer & butcher, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany & Bologna Parma, January 2018
A great thing for me was that the course gave me the confidence and knowledge to judge the mould and ageing process of the product I produce and thereby feeling comfortable serving them for our customers.
Søren Aagaard, chef, Denmark, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, March 2018
I have now produced Bresaola, Coppa, Chorizo and Salami. I am very pleased with the results. I would have never had the courage to do it without having attended the training in Tuscany. Feedback we have had from customers has been fantastic.
Malcolm Tennant, Stoneygate Farm, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2016
Thanks for the brilliant course. I would certainly recommend it to others. Meeting the norcini really helped me to understand the skill and experience needed to make great salumi. I’m already planning a few curing projects at home!
Elliott Bloomfield, chef, River Cafe, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, March 2017
Thank you for your tireless efforts in making sure that I got the most out of the course.
Thank you for handpicking the most talented and genuine artisans for me to learn from.
Thank you for going out of your way for me to get spices.
Thank you for one of the most memorable and fulfilling experiences of my life.
Vahe Jr Seraydarian, chef, Lebanon, Advanced Salumi Course, February 2017
Thanks for a fantastic course, very exciting and enthusiastic. I have just got a 'maiale' in two halves in the door, and am cutting it the Modena way right now. Salting today, salsicce, salame & soppressata tomorrow :-) Stay tuned!
Tomas Vedsmand, food innovator, Denmark, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2017
I have to say that this was one of the best training I have had in my whole career (either as a butcher and also as a Geologist). Theory, tradition and practice has been explained in depth with hands on the job and plenty of Italian joy. I strongly recommend this training for any enthusiast of the salumi art.
David Contreras, Romania, Advanced Salumi Course, March 2017
I would like to thank you very much for such an amazing week… I enjoyed and learned a lot from this experience. The course was very valuable and full of information. Erica and Giancarlo were beyond expectations. And the group was such amazing company sharing the best moments and knowledge of meat curing.
Fayez Bathish, Israel, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, February 2017
I have worked as a butcher for 4 years, but haven’t worked with cured meats. I read a couple books on the topic but really wanted to learn hands on with experienced butchers. That is exactly what this course gave me. All the butchers we worked with were skilled artisans that have a deep respect for their craft and the animals they work with. They were all very open and happy to share their knowledge. They each worked a bit differently which gave the experience even more depth. Giancarlo’s wealth of knowledge introduced us to salumi topics and then led us through and followed up each session. Erica’s depth of knowledge on various cultural and culinary aspects of the areas we traveled through rounded out the experience. She did a great job arranging the trip and I must say we ate very well along the way. The course was an excellent primer on various aspects of the craft of salumi and I feel confident going forward that I have a solid foundation to build on.
Josh Meehan, butcher, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, February 2017
The course was definitely the highlight of our time in Tuscany. It is well thought out and packed with lessons that teach you about the traditional art of salumi making, and nose to tail use of the pig, by authentic Italian Norcini in real butcher shops (and people's homes)! We were given a real insight into how all different kinds of salumi (including salami, salsiccia, cotechino, prosciutto, pancetta, lardo and many more). The lessons were accompanied by good accommodation, great food and hand selected wine by Erica and Giancarlo. Highly recommend this course if you are looking to learn about the traditional way of making Tuscan salumi, while immersing yourself in the traditional culture.
Brittany Hoban & Duncan Dryburgh, salumi enthusiasts, Australia, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2017
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
Pete Manzo, Manzo’s Sausage Kitchen & Market, USA, January 2012, Advanced Salumi Course
The Tuscan salumi class has been fantastic. The hands on experience and the attention to communicating technique and detail has answered so many little questions that I’ve pondered over the years of producing salumi at home. Hats off to you Erica and Giancarlo. A great group of fellow students too!
Rudy Marchesi, winemaker, USA, Advanced Salumi Course Tuscany, February 2017
I recently entered the Melbourne Salami Festa with my 2016 winter Berkshire pork salami and I finished 6th out of 102 entries. The festa is the only major amateur salami competition of its kind in Australia, which is taken really seriously by some. I would like to thank you, Giancarlo and the artisan norcini for all the things I learnt on the salumi course last year. I strongly believe that these things have helped me to improve my family’s salami making techniques. Which has clearly paid off with us finishing in the top 10 this year and hopefully top 5 next year. Your courses are more than just training, they inspire a way of life.
22 October 2016: News from Geoff Burgess, Australia
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.
Nick Trott, butcher, Dukeshill Ham Company, UK, January 2012, Advanced Salumi Course
The course provided a great insight into the skills and techniques of artisan producers in Tuscany. It was a wonderful adventure, very informative, hands on, delicious food and stunning scenery. The hidden gems of restaurants (and Gabriella’s house) where we dined, the welcome and hospitality we received wherever we went made it such a memorable experience.
Billy Collins, pig farmer, Ireland, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2014
I attended both the cheese course and the salumi course and I have to say that both were amazing. Being a chef I appreciated every single minute and the dedication you put into these events. I think that I learned a lot and seeing many different artisans and the passion they transmit to us “students” is unforgettable.
Erica, you should be proud of what you are doing and I recommend your courses to not only chefs but to all food lovers. I also want to thank Giancarlo for sharing all his knowledge and patience so we could understand more. He is an asset to your courses.
Roderick Vella, Executive Chef, Excelsior Grand Hotel, Malta, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2015
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.
Tim McCarthy, McCarthy’s of Kanturk, Ireland, January 2012, Advanced Salumi Course
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!
Phil Wilcock, UK, pig farmer & butcher, October 2011
Having made and taught preserving in the past, I was always concerned with the risks of dealing with raw meat, in particular pork. This course has shown me that, following certain steps and guidelines, it is easily achievable and concerns could be overcome. Now, I just need to find the perfect pork and begin…
Bruno Richeux, chef, Australia, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2016
Just wanted to say how wonderful it was spending time with all you passionate people! We are all the bit wiser because of our organizers ( Erica & Giancarlo ) and the wonderful teachers we met along the way.
April Bloomfield, chef, The Spotted Pig, New York, March 2014, Advanced Salumi Course
I appreciated the patience of the norcini who gave everyone a chance to try. It was valuable genuinely doing the work and having enough time to practice under their supervision. It has inspired me to get to work on my own projects.
Tom Fabbro, design and marketing, USA, October 2015, Advanced Salumi Course
If the course were on Tripadvisor, it would get 5 stars.
Paul Young, keen amateur, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2015
The best part for me was getting close to artisans who are willing to reveal their secrets. That’s hard to find!
Hans Mertens, butcher, Belgium, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2015
Amazing people make amazing things happen. I fully recommend this course to anyone who wants to see fine Italian meats in action, eyes wide open!! I’m blown away at the amount I have taken from this. Giancarlo Russo and Heather Jarman delivered an in-depth look at the production and the practices of some very knowledgeable Artisans. Loved every minute. If you get the chance or have time, the extension to this course is the cream of the lardo! I met a 4th-generation family up in the hills above a small wine valley. This guy, his dad and uncle and the mum and aunt are truly spot on Salumi.
Drew Howard, pork butcher, Beijing, China, October 2013, Advanced Salumi Course & Extension
Had a blast on the course and want to thank you for arranging such a comprehensive program that highlights not only similarities but differences as well among Italian artisanal norcini, all of whom expressed their passion for their work. Very interesting and delicious indeed!
Bonnie Suarez, chef, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, February 2016
Although I have visited many norcini during my various Italy vacations, I never made it beyond the refrigerated counter case. It therefore was really interesting to see how they operate in the laboratorio. We had a fun group with interesting people and I enjoyed the experience thoroughly.
Christophe Kull, importer, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, February 2016
I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join your courses and the experience is something that I’m sure will be in many of my future story tellings.
Tony Nemati, chef, Kravings, Los Angeles, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2016
I learned more than I imagined I was going to, and had a fantastic time.
Kait Bauman, chef, San Francisco, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2016
I was blown away by the course. You put heart and soul into it to make it so memorable!
Maggie Healey, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2016
It was a great and inspiring experience.
Raven Burns, pastry chef, Blackbird Bakery, BC, Canada, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2016
Thank you for a great time and phenomenal course. Prior to arriving I had prepared 38 questions and every single one of them was answered. In Cape Town we have a saying after surfing a big wave: I am amped. That’s how I feel after my trip.
Oscar Bienz, South Africa, October 2015, Advanced Salumi Course
I would like to thank yourself and Giancarlo for creating such a great action packed course, well it’s more of a life experience than a course. All the things that are packed into the 5 days are amazing, well worth the long journey from Australia for the keen amateur or industry professional. I would also like to thank all the norcini for allowing us to come into their businesses and homes to teach and show us the way in which they produce their salumi, which is not only apart of their lives, but a tradition passed down over many generations. The course has left me feeling more inspired than normal in pursuing my dream of setting up my own Salumi Factory here in Perth, WA, producing as close as possible legal Traditional Italian Salumi.
Geoff Burgess, amateur salumi maker, Australia, October 2015, Advanced Salumi Course
A year after attending your course I’ve been back in Italy travelling around visiting producers of both live animals and the final product. I would like to say how wonderful a service you are providing to not just small producers, but people worldwide. I don’t believe the Italian people really appreciate what you have done and continue to do with your Salumi Masterclasses. It seems that industry is gobbling up the little man. Everyone I spoke to is concerned that it’s getting harder to make salumi the traditional way and remain viable.
James Mele, butcher, The Meat Room, Australia, Advanced Salumi Course
A benefit of the course is the combined experience of the group. I’m going home more motivated.
John Palmer, jewellery importer, UK, October 2015, Advanced Salumi Course
Cathy and I had a wonderful time during the course. The people we met were gracious hosts, wonderful cooks and very open to teaching us the craft from their perspective. Each norcino shared his vision of salumi with all of us; it was interesting and informative. Their patience in answering our questions was very appreciated; they were always willing to listen and answer each and every question posed.
Some of the course for me was reaffirming what I had learned previously or taught myself, a lot of it was new. However I did learned there are multiple ways to achieve the end result, multiple techniques, styles and traditions. I did not expect it and truly enjoyed learning that.
Joe Abandonato, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, March 2015
We would like to thank you for the wonderful time we had in Italy, it was a trip of a life time. The course was excellent. I have people back here asking about my adventure everyday and want to know when I’ll start making some of the items we learned about from all of the very fine artisans.
Ron Cramer, Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, March 2015
The experience with your group was so phenomenal. The things that stood out most for me were the dinner in the Tuscan home, the soup competition and Gino’s workshop. To me, these were opportunities that no other traveler to Italy can brag about. For that matter, the entire time with your group falls into this category. I cannot think of one bad thing to say about your course. I have told my friends about the mechanical cow and they want me to present the idea to our local dairy that sells whole unpasteurized milk. It would be wonderful to buy their milk in our own glass containers as they only sell it pre-bottled in plastic. I can’t believe how our time with you has transformed our lives by the people we met and the things we saw and learned. We will be putting our skills to the test the first weekend of May by butchering our pigs and and making the best salumi in Washington.
3 July 2015
We butchered our pigs the first of May. We were beyond pleased with the quality of our pork…At this time we have in our cooler lardo, pancetta, prosciutto, coppa and guanciale. It is hard to be patient with such wonderful pork products to dream about.
Cathy Abandonato, USA, Advanced Salumi Course, March 2015
Thank you for the wonderful few days we spent with you and the artisans in their laboratories looking at salumi techniques. It has enabled us to question why we do, or don’t do, things when making our products. It has clarified techniques, enhanced others and given me new ideas. We have already laid down a prosciutto for Christmas 2016. Nicely salting at the moment in the butchery, using different sizes of salt to account for the humidity and selective absorption – something which we didn’t understand beforehand. My 25-year-old son and I had a big work out on the leg trying to clear the blood and break the sinews around the joint as Ismaele showed us.
We really enjoyed the Italian home-cooked meal. In fact every meal was good, and it was a credit to you that you had taken the trouble to get us tickets for the village feast.
As you stated it’s not a course for beginners, but professional or keen amateur butchers and cooks should get a lot out of it. I know the hard work which goes into making something look easy – thank you so much.
Philip Wray, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, February 2015
Kenth Borglunds’ blog, Sweden, Advanced Salumi Course, January 2015
What a wonderful few days spent in the company of people passionate about Salumi. It confirmed a lot of the things I am doing right, but also offered many, many tips and changes I can make, especially in the initial salting and curing of prosciutto. I am also excited about trying new things like capocollo and pancetta.
John Evans, Dale Street Deli, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, November 2014
Just wanted to say a massive thank you to yourself and Giancarlo for the salumi course last weekend. It was a fantastic experience for both Amie and I and we would definitely love to come back for another course in the future. I thought the tutoring was spot on and Giancarlo’s passion for the subject was infectious! As a complete experience it will be very hard to top.
Jake Townley, chef, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2014
The course was such a highlight for both of us. Your course and the Vatican were the top 2 – followed by Our fish dinner with you, Matera, Trulli and Terra Madre. Oh ya, the Mechanical Cow was a pretty big hit too. Wish we had one here! And the chestnut forest! Thanks again for how much you care, and for going the extra mile to create an unforgettable experience for all of us.
Dana & Cameron Smith, chefs, Joy Road Cuisine du Terroir, Canada, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2014
The course for me was genuinely one of the best things I have ever done. Your passion and knowledge of Tuscany, its food, the culture and tradition was amazing, and coupled with Giancarlo’s insane knowledge of Italian salumi and wine, it was the perfect platform from which to learn and immerse yourself in the course. Everything about the course was authentic and I feel very confident I can apply what was learnt back in the UK.
Hugo Guest, financial consultant, UK, Advanced Salumi Course, October 2014
A brilliant four days that we got so much out of on both the foodie and the cultural side, as well as meeting lovely and interesting people. We know from running holidays for people what a huge amount of work goes on in the background and you really gave us the works with your efficiency and attention to detail and your easy nature. It was worth every last calorie! Clare and Steven (proud members of ‘the-best-course-so-far’ club)
Clare & Steven Wade, Woodmill Shootings, Scotland, March 2014, Advanced Salumi Course
Kirby and I had a fantastic time and all the people on the course inspire me to make my dream a reality even if it takes a few years.
Gina Piazza, USA, March 2014, Advanced Salumi Course
It was so great to meet all of you. The whole trip was really fantastic and I learned so much and enjoyed every second.
Kevin Flaherty, chef, USA, March 2014, Advanced Salumi Course
A very special opportunity to meet the best of Tuscany salumeria, learn about the way of living of authentic rural families of this lovely region, and much important, making new good friends from all over the world. I will come back some day.
Sergio Perrella, Brazil, March 2014, Advanced Salumi Course
Thank you to both you and Giancarlo, we had a fantastic and educational time with you guys. Every class was informative, the norcini were fantastic, generous with their knowledge as were you and Giancarlo. I do believe Sapori e Saperi is doing a wonderful service to artisan salumi producers, by exposing them to the world and allowing outsiders into their inner sanctum. I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in furthering their knowledge of (in particular Tuscan style) salumi.
James Mele, butcher, The Meat Room, Australia, February 2014, Advanced Salumi Course
Both you and Giancarlo are passionate, enthusiastic people delivering a truly memorable course. The norcini we met were true artisans with a lot of skill and enthusiasm which is always fantastic for me to see. I have come back to the UK with a new deeper understanding of air drying pork products. I must say the first evening’s meal, at Gabriella’s home was FABULOUS, a definite highlight!
Carl Slingsby, butcher, Greedy Little Pig, UK, January 2014
We had a fantastic time learning with the butchers and this will help our plans to start delving into making some test products.
Jon Gonzales, USA, November 2012, Advanced Salumi Course
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.
Mash Chiles, MD, The Bath Pig Company, UK, March 2012
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.
Viv Clucas, Leeds, UK, keen amateur, October 2011
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.
Ron Silver, chef, Bubby’s, NY, February 2011
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.
Andrew & Suzanne Clarke, UK, pig farmer, February 2011