Salumi Heaven 

Master sausage maker Jan van der Lieck returned to the shop recently to conduct a class on what he knows best. The owner and proprietor of Granville Island's Oyama Sausage Company, van der Liek's family has been making sausages for five generations. Go back far enough in his family tree and you'll find a school teacher who became a skilled butcher because his students kept giving him pigs and chickens as payment. Flash forward to today and one thing is abundantly clear.  Jan loves his work.

With the help of his skilled assistant Gero, Jan took us through the various step in butchering an actual side of pig. Along the way, he offered a fascinating look at the various approaches that different countries have in preparing and curing meat.

How knowledgeable is he? Let's just say that if Jeopardy ever had a theme show on international sausage-making, the well-travelled van der Lieck would be a cinch to run all the categories. In fact Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn - authors of the critically acclaimed Salumi - refer to Jan as one of the world's best in his field.  Using Salumi as a source of reference for the evening, he guided us through a sophisticated tasting menu of cured hams and sausages that included an especially memorable black pudding.

.The selection of meats was paired with scallops, lentils, freshly preserved peaches and a homemade relish. All complemented by a lovely selection of white wine.  Best of all, the evening was as enlightening as it was enjoyable. A true testament to Jan's philosophy that "good food balances body and soul."