Iowa Baby!

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I’ve been very tardy in my posting these last few weeks. It’s largely due to me being extremely busy. Hopefully over the next few days there’ll be a spate of postings to bring you up to date on where I’m at.

So, where do I start? Well, Iowa is as good a place as any. I was lucky enough to secure some funding to attend the 33rd Annual Sausage and Processed Meats Course at Iowa State University. It’s a course with an incredible pedigree, from a small producers perspective Iowa State has been the training ground for a few of the US’ most illustrious producers, namely Paul Bertolli former Chef at Chez Panisse and owner of salami company Fra’Mani and Chef Chris Cosentino of Boccalone and Incanto.

The course was a great mix of people, small producers like myself, Chef’s, ingredient suppliers, machinery designers and manufacturers as well as a cross section from some of the major US meat companies such as Sara Lee and Oscar Mayer. It was a great balance of theory and practice, with us all being assigned group projects during the week. I was on bacon duty, quite an eye opener really on how they make bacon in the US and a great opportunity for me to play with liquid natural smoke for the first time.

The standard of the international lecturing panel was incredible. The real stand-out for me was Klaus Kreibig, from Devro Casings in the Czech Republic – he’d flown in at the beginning of July  to prep for the course, making nearly 60 varieties of fresh, semi-dry and fermented sausages for the week’s major social event – Wurstfest.

By the end of the week I had a stack of recipes and business cards to take away with me, these weeks since there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t had an e-mail, a facebook message or a Linked In message from someone on the course. Look out for some US inspired products – I’m hoping to add frankfurters, American bacon, smoked sausages and pepperoni to the roster of products!

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