During my apprenticeship in France, Kate began talking about an upcoming international meat summit. Michael Museth of Folkets Madhus was the organizer and had scheduled an event for late August, in Copenhagen. Kate and Dom were to speak and several international butchers would be in attendance. So like a pup begging for treats, I hounded Kate until she asked the organizer if I could tag along.
Luckily for me, he agreed.
About a week before the trip, Kate and I were discussing our plans. She was to fly into Copenhagen. I had planned to ride the train and catch up with her there, but somewhere along the way we started talking about a road trip. Two days later, coincidentally on my birthday, I received an email from Kate titled “Happy Birthday” with our road trip route included.
The best birthday present!
DAY 1: The morning of our departure, I arrived at Camont as the sun was coming up. I had rented a VW Polo for the trip and had it packed with my travel bag and knives. Kate tossed hers in with mine and I was delighted when she added a hamper full of French charcuterie. Then off we went, road-trippin' to a meat summit in Copenhagen.
Kate and I talked for hours, only stopping for diesel and the occasional pastry or sandwich. We discussed at great length my future plans for a craft butcher shop in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. She gave me invaluable advice gleaned from her years in the culinary world and her travels around the globe. As the day drug on, she recounted tales from some of these travels – The time she drove an old army flatbed truck across Africa or guided lavish tours through the greatest wine regions and restaurants of France.
She really has done it all.
In the late afternoon, we crossed the border into Germany – near Stuttgart. Kate and I both pondered on the whereabouts of the Autobahn: the famed German motorway of unrestricted speed limits. Never the less, the highway we were on was amply populated with BMWs, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsches proving that Stuttgart was indeed the automobile cradle of the world. Just as the sun set, we hit Frankfurt where we planned to stay the night with one of Kate’s former students.
DAY 2 & TONY: Tony welcomed us into his home where German beer and meat are not in short supply. Kate beckoned for the Noix de Jambon, so I cut into one to allow Tony to sample our wares. In return, he produced an Iberian Coppa he had preserved.
Wow, people say that fat melts in your mouth, well this fat really did!
It was some of the best tasting charcuterie I’d ever had the opportunity to try.
As it turned out, Tony was quite the weekend charcuterie warrior – his kitchen was stocked with various cured meats, fermented vegetables, and a plethora of top-notch kitchen gear. He even had a Jambon Bayonne (dried pork ham) in one of his cabinets.
The next morning, after a breakfast of cold cuts provided by our host, we got back on the Autobahn.
Yeah, Tony laughed when we asked where it was. He informed us that we had been driving on the Autobahn the entire day before.
Around midday, we pulled into a small German village nestled next to some heavily wooded hills and promptly located the local butcher shop. After chatting with the monger and inquiring about a number of his offerings, we made our purchases, including freshly baked bread.
Finding the perfect picnic spot was not hard. Everything looked like the Von Trapps might skip into at any moment. That night we pulled into Lubeck and had one last good sleep in a hotel before the meat summit.
DAY 3: The smell of the sea filled our nostrils the next morning as we boarded the ferry for Denmark and crossed the Femer Baelt.
Finally, a couple of hours later, the VW Polo pulled into a parking lot marked Folkets Madhus .
After 1,256 miles and 25 hours in the car, we had arrived!