Twenty course participants bringing home the bacon

Question: Which part of the pig costs $100 a kilogram, is found in the pet section of the supermarket and is apparently very nice sliced and deep fried?

Twenty people who attended a ''Pig in a Day'' course at Rippon Winery, in Wanaka, on Saturday will know the answer already.

They were given a five-hour introduction to charcuterie by Anna and John Mahy, of Banks Peninsula - a course that stretched far beyond preparing the humble leg of pork.

The buzzwords in the world of pork butchery are prosciutto, chorizo, salami and pancetta, although Mrs Mahy points out these same dried, cured and fermented products were once manufactured at home by generations of New Zealanders.

''I think home-cured bacon was probably part of New Zealand back in the pioneer days.

''It was one of those skills that was passed down from generation to generation but with the baby boomers I think a lot of these skills stopped being passed down when everyone went out to work.''

However, Mrs Mahy is now so busy catering for those with a hankering for DIY butchering her twice-monthly classes are fully booked until September.

Mrs Mahy told the Otago Daily Times, while scraping pork sausage meat flavoured with paprika, garlic, salt and black pepper off her hands, there were still people who came to her classes who did not like touching raw meat.

''I've got friends who when they come round for dinner realise the chicken came from the garden and are quite horrified at the idea.

''People find [meat] in the supermarkets and don't have that connection to the animal that it came from.

''Unless you have got that connection to it, you won't understand why it's important to eat free range.''

While her former IT manager husband covers the back room, Mrs Mahy offers sage advice on flavouring, salting, brining and curing meat - not forgetting hygiene.

Meat being hung to dry could go mouldy, and wild pigs needed to be frozen for three weeks to kill any parasites they might carry.

Mrs Mahy was once a vegetarian because she did not like the way animals were raised and their meat processed.

She now eats meat, but insists all the meat she works with is free range.

And as for those free-range Central Otago rabbits - Mrs Mahy said there was nothing better than a thinly sliced piece of back-strap from a rabbit, although hare was even better.

Answer: Ears.

-mark.price@odt.co.nz