I met my friend Charlotte in Vietnam, at Phong Nha farmstay. I was traveling alone, as usual, and had spent the day on an utterly amazing cave tour. Back at the farm, I’m relaxing, reading a book and drinking some wine in the common area, when I run into Charlotte while getting a refill, and she insists that I put the book down and join them- them being the others she had pulled into her company. She was also travelling alone, and had met up with an assemblage that had arrived that day. This whole stay was a highlight of the trip- hanging out that night, then going on ancient bikes to The Pub With The Cold Beer with a nice group where she picked out the chickens that would be killed and grilled for our dinner. Losing my shoe in the river, and having it rescued my an intrepid German. Really- best day ever.
Anyway, thanks to the magic of the internet, we have stayed in touch, and when the opportunity to visit and help/learn about her charcuterie operation called The Insalting Pig, I jumped. At the time, this was the definition of a cottage business. Making salumi in the kitchen, and there was a shed up the garden with an aging cabinet, a smoker and a sealing machine. Sometimes we used the local butcher’s expansive kitchen (and large sausage stuffer) to make the sausages, especially after we lost the lug to her home stuffer.
I’m sorry that I don’t have more pics of the operation, but I do have a picture of the booth at the Ashburton Food Festival, where we broke the company record for sales on a single day (even though Charlotte mocked me for not knowing my English coinage better). We were hustling constantly, and were the only cured meat vendor there, which didn’t hurt.
Here I am, happily flogging the salami 😉