The unique Squisito Artisan Curing & Smoking at Home workshop is designed for keen amateurs, butchers, chefs, coeliacs and as a practical introduction to curing and preservation at home.
Squisito (that's squiz-eat-oh or 'exquisite' in Italian before you ask) are all qualified teachers and accredited farmers market food producers as well as shortlisted as 'Best Food Producer' in the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2012 and Northamptonshire 'Local Food Hero' Finalists this year amongst others. For a change ours actually is the voice of experience since we work and teach.
Unlike other courses Squisito workshops are practical and educational so you will be tasting, making plus learning the science and functional skills of curing and smoking as a means of preservation to gain a compass to work by so you can assess recipes or products they collect to pass your skills on to your friends and family.
Hands-on workshops here at The Old Butchers Shop are for just 1-5 students since hands-on teaching is slower than demonstration although we can teach larger numbers by arrangement using AV equipment at a local catering college.
At Home workshops are £175.00 per person including meat, fish, game and whatever in season since you get to take home what you make as homework. If you do the math it makes the workshop good value.
Workshops start at 09:30 for 10:00am and usually finish between 5:30 and 6:00pm.
Educational breakfast is followed by basic bacteriology or 'how curing and smoking actually works' so students gain diagnostic skills and not just recipes. If you have any allergies, dietary or other requirements just email [email protected]
Students then learn to make a brine to cure a ham or salt beef, cure gravad lax, cure salt beef or lamb to make pastrami or basterma, butcher and make pancetta (aka dry cure bacon), souse mackerel or trout, butcher and cure biltong or smoke cod's roe (if available fresh), then bake a cured ham and make n'duja (spicy smoked semi-dried Calabrian sausage) or frankfurters for smoking e.g. from dried to wet cured for either cooking, further dehyrating and/or smoking.
The workshop doesn't include hot smoking since that’s ‘cooking’ and flavouring whilst smoking for preservation is cold smoking or, more correctly, 'ambient smoking' (of which more in the workshop) which is a chemical process. If you're unsure of the difference this workshop is designed for you.
Students get to take-what-they-make as homework and there are comprehensive workshop notes with recipes and hyperlinks for reinforcement and self-tuition! Our student's reviews (and sometimes businesses) speak for themselves.
All you need as a student is a good size cold bag to carry your homework in and a good night's sleep since you will be on your feet for a lot of the day. It is a working day as well as an educational and entertaining day so a good night's sleep and work boots or walking shoes are recommended since you will be on your feet a lot of the time. Victorian shops were designed to be fridges before the age of electricity or refrigeration so dress appropriately in Winter!
Please don’t buy expensive smokers or equipment in advance - a little peasant know-how goes a long way!
Tailored workshops or professional workshops with HACCP at home, on farm or EHO approved venues like pubs, corporate kitchens or village halls are available by arrangement. For recipes and excerpts from workshop notes visit www.squisito-deli.co.uk
Artisan Curing & Smoking at Home and Artisan Sausage Making at Home is the prerequisite for the Corso Salumi in Tuscany or Mortdadella Fatta in Lombardia.
If you have any questions just call Alex direct on 07544 428 165 email [email protected]
As a small family business Squisito reserve the right to alter course dates if circumstances or weather dictate. Refunds cannot be given once booked but Squisito will make every effort to arrange alternative workshop date.
smoked Nduja hanging in kitchen
artisan pancetta 'stesa' excerpt
"The sausage making course and the home curing and smoking courses are exceptional. Alex takes you through the fundamentals in an entertaining and informative way that makes it easy to remember when you get home and go solo. Not only do you get the chance to make great tasting food under expert supervision, you get to take it home to share with friends and family. The courses are great value and I'd highly recommend to anybody who loves good food."
9 months later
"I just wanted to write to you to say I had no idea how the two days we spent together last Autumn would change our whole family's lives for the better.
Besides the amazing food we created, your educational "re-programming" has had the most incredible beneficial effect in terms of the food choices we make every day and over the last few months I have developed a real passion coupled with a discerning eye for the procurement of real ingredients to create real food.
Believe it or not, never a day goes by without me hearing at least one of your phrases in my head when I am making a culinary decision!
The only problem now is that I find it almost impossible to gain any satisfaction unless I have prepared the food myself, however we are off to Napoli / Sorrento this summer, so i look forward to putting on half a stone in a week tasting what they have in store for us there.
Anyway, I just thought I would let you know as it's been an amazing transformation.
Thanks again, Warren"
9 days later
"Just tasted the loin I dry cured - it's f&^%$g amazing!!"
"An amazing insight into . . . well, everything actually! Thank you for helping me to see the (food) revolution! p.s. The race car analogies were perfect!"
Warren - Classic Racing Car Builder
"I thoroughly enjoyed your teaching style and personally benefit from an up-front, no nonsense approach to any subject.
I felt a little out of my depth with regards to the science but that highlights my shortcomings rather than the course's.
The hands-on side of the course was great with plenty of treats to take home and share at the end of the day.
The most important treat however was being inspired by what you're doing and the knowledge you've amassed over the years - truly this course had an impact on me that will last.
Love the thrifty approach and rustic philosophy; gives me hope that small businesses can really thrive and has given me a lot of food for thought for my future in this industry."
Owain - Chef & Restauranteur
"Thank you for the courses - I really enjoyed both days and learnt an lot of new stuff.
The pancetta is coming along nicely – I an massaging it every day. Also I have been turning the salt beef every day, I would like to smoke it and make it into a pastrami.
We tried your Sugo di Salsiccia recipe with the Tuscan sausage tonight (minus the creme fraiche & parmesan) – absolutely fantastic."
"Words fail me, best day, food, talk and - just everything! Don’t miss the Curing Course!
A very very happy - Janice"
"Days like this don't come around often - delicacies appearing throughout the day . . . porc tartare - mindblowing brie - local beers - arancello. We've tried a few tastings these last few years and the day we were making sausages turned out the best of all. Alex has taught more amusing connotations of sausages than I could ever have thought up and left us with kilos of of the output to take home. Thanks for giving my Pa a great birthday."
"Alex, you are a natural teacher - full of passion that you want to pass onto others - with a real love of what you do. We've had such a good day starting with a cracking breakfast and you took us at our own pace. Well done to you both. We've had a hands-on day and will head South full of enthusiasm with some new skills to apply. Until next time . . . "
"Alex came to my home to teach Dave and I the art of ARTISAN sausage making. It was one of the most interesting and informative days I have ever spent. Dave has not stopped calling me about different recipes and ideas. Alex cooked us breakfast and lunch which was sublime. I can only recommend this course to any one who wishes to develop their skills in the art of making "real" sausages. Alex is a very knowledgeable man with a wealth of experience and an easy teaching style."
"The reviews on your website spoke for themselves. I had to come along. I can't thank you enough."
Gravad lax excerpt
How to smoke pancetta excerpt