You don’t have to be a foodie to agree that everything tastes better wrapped in bacon. Now there’s an annual gathering devoted to everything pork. A “ham-onic convergence,” if you will. Believe it: Camp Bacon is not a dream. For the fourth year running, the porcine festival will convene in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with four smoke-filled days of tastings, workshops, cook-offs, concerts and even bacon-themed games.
The event is sponsored by Zingerman’s, a Michigan institution described as a “culinary theme park for adults,” and serves as a benefit for the Southern Foodways Alliance. Tickets for the Saturday main event at Zingerman’s Roadhouse aren’t cheap—$150. But for that, inquiring taste buds get access to an all-day power summit featuring some of America’s most knowledgable baconators, the gastro-physicists of pork.
An assortment of speakers will cover everything from slaughtering techniques to bacon poetry. Among them are Bob Nueske, a master bacon-maker from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, whose family business was founded by his great-grandfather, an immigrant from Germany who began smoking meat in Wisconsin in the late 19th century. More than 130 years later, meat-eaters everywhere know the Applewood brand. Florence, Alabama native and Southern Foodways Alliance regular Natalie Chanin will talk about the believe-it-or-not world of “bacon crafts,” including a display on “Sewing with Bacon.” Cured-pork specialist Herb Eckhouse will visit from Norwalk, Iowa, where he runs La Quercia, a purveyor of such delicately flavored traditional specialties as prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, speck, lonza, guanciale and lardo. And from Salamanca comes Raul Martin, representing Embutidos Fermin, whose trade is Iberico ham—which devotees know is the utter definition of melt-in-your-mouth “meat candy” or pata negra. He’ll get everyone up to speed on the legendary breed that supplies the much-craved (and often pricey) delicacy.
If there’s still room for more pork belly in your belly, everything wraps up Sunday with a street fair, where vendors will offer up every kind of swine-based wonder.
For more information, visit www.zingermanscampbacon.com.
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