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Hawaiian Charcuterie Workshop

Links of chipolata being made during François's 2014 workshop. Daniel Lane photo.
Links of chipolata being made during François's 2014 workshop. Daniel Lane photo.

Links of chipolata being made during François’s 2014 workshop. Daniel Lane photo.

Charcuterie is a French word for prepared meat products, which includes deli meat, bacon, sausages and pate. I was introduced to the craft in 2014, when I wrote a story called “The Pig Gig.” Ron Miller, owner and executive chef of Hukilau Lanai, invited his mentor, François Vecchio, to teach the art of butchery.

For more than 60 years, François has been involved in the meat industry, from farm to plate. From 1962 to 1980, he owned and operated his family’s company in Switzerland, overseeing more than 700 employees. In 1981, he introduced European-style salumi to California and worked with Busseto Foods (formerly Rapelli of CA), Columbus Salame Company and Niman Ranch. In François’s class, we learned that the humidity in Hawaii takes the art to another level.

François Vecchio tirelessly travels the world, keeping the art of butchery and the craft of charcuterie alive. Daniel Lane photo.

François Vecchio tirelessly travels the world, keeping the art of butchery and the craft of charcuterie alive. Daniel Lane photo.

The workshop inspired Ron, and soon charcuterie plates were on the Hukilau Lanai menu. (The farm-to-table restaurant also serves freshly made pasta and only fish that is Seafood Watch approved.) Slices of house-made charcuterie made with Kauai-raised pork from M&H Kaneshiro Farm includes coppa di testa, pork and mushroom pate, mortadella and summer sausage. They’re accompanied by house-made mustard, pickles, and house-made baguette slices.

As Ron’s craftsmanship solidified, he began to offer classes, the first of which was last September. A group of about 14 meat lovers watched his demonstration. He began by sharing how to purchase books he found useful (including François’s “Charcutier. Salumiere. Wurstmeister and the Art and Philosophy of Producing Quality Pork Products”) as well as how to buy butcher supplies on Kauai, and which stores sell ingredients, such as Hanai Kauai.

Ron Miller makes sausage during last September's Introduction to Charcuterie Demonstration Class. Marta Lane photo.

Ron Miller makes sausage during last September’s Introduction to Charcuterie Demonstration Class. Marta Lane photo.

Everyone got a packet, which included recipes. We followed along as Ron made pate, mortadella, bacon and smoked sausage. After making the sausage, they fired up a smoker just outside the door, and the room filled with tantalizing smoky aroma as Ron finished the demonstration.

Afterwards, we enjoyed the results during lunch. The flyer promoted it as a light lunch, but I’d argue that. Ron’s wife Krissi placed platters on the communal table and we ate family style, while Ron joined us and answered questions. We began with chewy squares of their signature house-made focaccia bread and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce. This was followed by a potato and kale soup with smoked sausage. A salad of Kailani Farm greens with preserved lemon vinaigrette was topped with generous balls of creamy Kauai Kunana Dairy goat cheese. It was fun to sit near Ryan Wooton, the dairy farmer, while he enjoyed his cheese. His wife Sarah came by with Hendrix, their newborn son. We shared plates of orecchiette tossed with smoked garlic, bacon and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as well as slices of rustic pate with papaya chutney, macadamia nut mortadella, smoked sausage and bacon. The final course was a fabulous chocolate, bacon and bourbon ice cream.

The next Introduction to Charcuterie Demonstration Class is Sunday, Nov. 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $50. Registration and pre-payment are required. For more information, call 808-822-0600.

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