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Ultimate Speck

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Proper Speck, a cult Tyrolian dried and smoked pork meat, can only be found in a narrow corner of Val d'Ultimo, in Italy. Probably the best dried meat on earth, and you can't really buy it. But let me show you how it's made.

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I am moving FXcuisine.com to video and it takes me time to get my films at par with the articles you have enjoyed for the last 2 years. I won't be able to publish as many photo articles as before, so you photo-fans, enjoy this one! Give me time and you'll see that the videos will be just as good, with the added benefit of sound, moving images and live jokes.

Nobody eats proper Speck these days. Even Italians think that industrially dried hams are where Speck ends. Nothing could be further from the truth. Real Speck [shpayk] is a whole pig carcass, deboned, rubbed with salt and spices, then dried and smoked in an alpine chalet's kitchen for a year. It is one of the most flavorful meats on earth. You can't buy it because nobody makes Speck like this any more. Or almost nobody.

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Sometimes when the great wave of time comes and erases all, it misses a little spot. For a while, that spot preserves what was as it was. If you are fortunate enough you can visit until the next wave comes. I found such a sport in Val d'Ultimo in the Italian Dolomites, where two local gentlemen took me in their car to show me how traditional Speck was done. Very, very few people still do it like this. Most of today's Speck is the dried deboned thigh of an imported pig. Until I came to Val d'Ultimo, I thought that this was proper Speck.

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Even the best salumerie in Italy produce dried meats in semi-industrial facilities as clean as a German dentist's waiting room, streamlined, efficient but soulless. But people work for money or they soon close shop, so such Specks are usually made from Austrian pigs raised industrially, and they are dried for only a couple months. Edible products, no doubt, but compared to real Speck this is like airline food and homecooked meal at FXcuisine.

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Dietmar Staffler (right) used to be Karl Telfser's (left) schoolteacher, until he took over the family butcher's shop, in operation for more than a century. Each has his own business producing all sorts of Tyrolian delicacies. On top of that, and more for the art than for profit, they manage to produce about two dozens traditional Specks of the highest order, hard core slow food treats for the real connaisseur.

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Karl and Dietmar raise a few pigs sulla malga, up in some remote alpine pastures, where they spend the whole summer enjoying the fresh air and good diet. They are slaughtered in December, then deboned and rubbed with salt and spices and left to dry for a month. Then ... but let me show you rather than tell you.

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We climb in Dietmar's car in the middle of a glorious afternoon and drive up the mountains in the enchanted landscape of Val d'Ultimo. Hear it straigh from the horse's mouth: this is every bit as gorgeous a setting as the Swiss Alps.

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The car stops and we walk down a small road in the middle of nowhere, until we reach an age-old Tyrolian chalet with wooden tiles on its roof. How many winters did it weather?

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Dietmar walks to the door to call the owner ...

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Nobody home, but the door is open. We walk into an impossibly atmospheric kitchen, straight from the days of yore, one of those places that would give an instant heart attack to a EU slow-food-killing inspector. And well done that would be, for these guys understand nothing of traditional foods.

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Click for 360° interactive panorama Interactive 360° panorama
See the whole kitchen with its hearth and half a dozen 100kg specks hanging from the ceiling with my spherical panorama.

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La bohème of unmarried tyrolian cowboys in all its humble poetry ...

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... and above me a dozen majestic specks, each 100 kilograms, a whole pig sliced in half and deboned hanging for a whole year, enjoying the smoke from the open hearth, like in the old days. Layers upon layers of smoky flavor slowly imbibe the meat to give a unique product fit for a king.

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Speck is often used to prepare pasta sauces or knoedel, but I like it best thinly sliced. The meat is very lean and is extremely fragrant with the smoke, juniper and rosemary. A pure delight!

Each Speck is 100kg/200 lbs. The problem is not to sell them - Karl and Dietmar have a waiting list. What's hard is to produce it. Alpine pastures can accommodate only a couple pigs each, and slow-smoking the traditional way requires a very traditional smoker - not many of those left! Even I was not able to buy any.

Hey Karl, can you put me on the waiting list for 100kg?

selected Foods
Karl Telfser
Kirchsteig 5 via salita alla chiesa
I-39012 Merano
T+39 0473 23 45 56
F+39 0473 27 51 90
k.telfser-ohg [AT] dnet.it
Karl and his wife run a business in Südtyrol that sells really seriously slow food you can find nowhere else. Products like his proper Speck are made in such small quantities that they can bring in only a minuscule profit, but Karl continues to produce it along with more conventional Tyrolian food specialties, out of sheer love for proper food. You have to taste his apricot jam - just incredible. If he was English he'd be nominated Food Hero of the year and they would be invited to have tea with the Queen.

Staffler-Spezialitäten
Dietmar Staffler
Hauptstrasse 191
I-39016 St. Walburg/Ulten
T+39 0473 79 53 23
dietmar.staffler [AT] rolmail.net
Tell Dietmar I sent you. His family butcher's shop has been in a lovely village in Val d'Ultimo since 1906. The baker right opposite is well worth visiting too.

Published 05/03/2009
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110 Comments

Another masterpiece, Francois! Indeed, I was a little bit worried, what is happening with our Grand Maestro, you know?
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Cristian, I am at work, no worry, but those damn videos drive me crazy, had the editing software crash a couple zillion times today. Grr...

  • #3
  • Comment by Ty
  • on: 05/03/2009
Beautiful photos as always.  A few of them, especially of the kitchen, looked as if there were oil paintings.  A delicious feast for the stomach and eyes.
  • FX's answer→ Ty, I am glad you saw the kitchen with my eyes, indeed it was a splendid scene, something so unique and different from everyday experience, many people might not understand the poetry of it all!

Well worth the wait. Fantastic, as usual.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Alex, more video is on the way!

Incredible. Fantastic photos, and boy, what a story. This is how charcuterie should still be.
  • FX's answer→ Matt, I wish those EU boffins would allow such traditional production methods to live on, but what do they know about proper food - I wonder.

  • #9
  • Comment by Groty
  • on: 05/03/2009
Thanks Francois!  That was incredible. I want some!!
  • FX's answer→ Groty, so do I!

  • #11
  • Comment by Ore
  • on: 05/03/2009
Fantastic Post!  The quality of your posts are incredible.  Great job and we await more, more, more!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Ore, glad you liked it!

  • #13
  • Comment by Erik
  • on: 05/03/2009
I would like to echo the previous comments by saying that as usual your pictures are amazing. Thank you for taking the time to do one more picture segment. I look forward to seeing your skills progress in the video arena.Cheers!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your support, Erik!

  • #15
  • Comment by W.C.
  • on: 05/03/2009
re: Speck
Love to see these craftsmen at work. Thank you, Francois, for showcasing these wonderful things on the web.You are doing a fine thing by helping to keep these traditions alive.

W.C.

P.S.  You know best, but myself I will be missing the photos.
  • FX's answer→ Perhaps I'll include a couple stills then!

  • #17
  • Comment by Rosa
  • on: 05/03/2009
wow, what a great product! Real Speck is to die for! Thanks for the wonderful article!

Cheers,

Rosa
  • FX's answer→ Yes, real Speck it is!

  • #19
  • Comment by Manda
  • on: 05/03/2009
Another fascinating trip.

Can I just make a plea for you /not/ to go entirely to video. I love the pictures and enjoy the words but rarely want to sit through moving stuff. I think I may be alone in the world for feeling this, but there you have it, it has to be said.

All the best.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Manda for speaking your heart, I hope I'll convert you to the world of moving images!

Great, informative post. I just got back from a skiing trip to the Val Gardena in the Dolomites, where everybody eats Speck. I never realized that it wasn't the real homemade product. Who knew. The photo of the kitchen is priceless. Looks like a stage set.
  • FX's answer→ Ciaochowlinda, it never ceases to amaze me how even in Italy many people do not know much about the great foods they eat and where it ought to come from. But here in Switzerland many people don't really understand what is meant by Fromage d'alpage, so ...

  • #23
  • Comment by Nikki
  • on: 05/03/2009
Awww... Well, I'll miss the text/photo posts... but only because I'm hearing impaired.  It's okay - I'll just crank up the volume.  :D
  • FX's answer→ Nikki, I am looking into a way of making subtitles to help people who can't hear too good and those who watch the videos in the office, so don't worry!

  • #25
  • Comment by Marianne - Vaxholm
  • on: 05/03/2009
This was more than worth waiting for, Francois Xavier! Are rare treat and gorgeous pictures – and while I can fully appreciate that the act of cooking in real time is holding a lure for you, I have to admit that the atmospheric quality of your stills holds endless fascination for me. Your photography is so sensual that one is reminded of the period when still life painting had one of its triumphant moments in the 17th and 18th century, very often depicting kitchens and dining table arrangements. The mountainside kitchens, smokeries and dairy huts with their aged interiors and utensils in your articles hold timeless beauty. The produce itself looks sensationally good, too bad it is so rare. Thank you for taking the time to do this too!
As for the German dentist’s waiting room, I have to admit I am amused. You should have seen the waiting room of my Swiss dentist; not only was it adorned with exquisite paintings, it was also clinically clean. You had to take off your shoes there in winter (which incidentally is a standard here in Sweden due to the weather, but outrageously exotic on the Continent). He also kept entertaining his patients with stories on the tricky refurbishment of his chalet, an old mill in Valais, - a setting in which I hope we will be seeing you hiking up and down the mountains to these rustic chalets soon – on video!!
Once again, thank you for throwing in the occasional photo shoot to mitigate my withdrawal symptoms and all the best and good luck with your videos!

Marianne – Vaxholm
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Marianne! Yes I love genre painting and am glad you share my look on these apparently menial scenes that are in fact so rich and evocative. Indeed the plan is to hike up (but more likely: down) in the Swiss Alps, although I can't promise we'll find a place like this!

  • #27
  • Comment by ND
  • on: 05/03/2009
Hehe, in the words of Tony Soprano, a good Caesar listens to his generals(: Awesome post, and not a moment too soon! That photo of the chalet really lives up to the moniker of "Val d'Ultimo!"
  • FX's answer→ Yes Tony listened, didn't he! I love the name of that valley, Val d'Ultimo, seems really fit for Ultimate Speck!

  • #29
  • Comment by Dave
  • on: 05/03/2009
When you encounter those EU inspection boffins, you are getting a taste of what has ruined the regional specialties in the US.  FX in photos or videos is fine with me.  You have raised the bar on my learning curve.  You tell jokes, too??
  • FX's answer→ Dave, yes we fight those boffins here in Switzerland too, Swiss boffins mind you, who try to transform Alpine high pasture cheesemakers into crappy industries on the side of the freeway! I make people laugh, yes, but not by telling straight jokes. You'll see!

  • #31
  • Comment by signoramonzi
  • on: 05/03/2009
Great panorama, I made myself dizzy going around in circles on it!

Look forward to your videos, though I love the still pictures.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, I really felt the panorama was the way to go on this one!

  • #33
  • Comment by Rico
  • on: 05/03/2009
Absolutely delicious and amazing parma ham  (prosciutto)  I loved the article and the pictures really nice indeed
  • FX's answer→ Rico, this is no parma ham nor prosciutto. This is the whole beast, tail to ears, dried and smoked. It's like if you'd say Chicken Do Piaza and Poule au Pot are the same (stewed chicken). But I admit the vast world of Italian cured meats is really confusing!

  • #35
  • Comment by Dave Marks
  • on: 05/03/2009
I enjoy your video posts, but it is very hard to view them discreetly at work.  I would prefer the more numerous photo posts.

Dave
  • FX's answer→ Aye Dave, this I understand. Any chance of a discreet headphone at work?

wow, great shots, brings back some great memories of my time in Italy.

I really like both your photography/photojournalism and your videos. I think that for topics like this your photography is wonderful. (Mind you all of your posts are really well done :)
  • FX's answer→ Geoff, yes the pictures work fine, there was quite some work on a couple (HDR and panorama). But with the video you'd get to hear the Germanic dialect they speak, the laughs, the rumor from the country ... really great too!

  • #39
  • Comment by Hannah
  • on: 06/03/2009
Excellent post as always! I implore you not to go entirely to video, your photos are stunning and I have trouble loading videos on my computer. Real Speck looks fantastic, I hope I can try it someday!
  • FX's answer→ Hannah, I am trying to get my hands on a piece of Speck myself, can't find good Speck anywhere these days!

  • #41
  • Comment by Cynthia
  • on: 06/03/2009
This is real food!
  • FX's answer→ Yes it is, and a piece of history too!

  • #43
  • Comment by Laura D.
  • on: 06/03/2009
You're not alone, Manda!  I too prefer the stills.  It's not that I'm against video on principle or anything; I just feel that still photos are more evocative and stimulate the imagination more.  Then, too, I like to read rather than listen for the same reasons.  It may also be that I am something of a Luddite.  However...

This speck makes me long to produce all my own food--or at least get myself a neighbor who does.  Boo! to the EU and its soul-killing, sterile rules.  They want only facsimiles of food, not real food.
  • FX's answer→ Laura, would a couple still photos along with a video work for you? Instead of the 30+ pictures I include in many articles, that is.

    There are lots of people who produce their own dried meats, I did that with my uncle, it really is fun. You can start with sausages, they are easy to make!

  • #45
  • Comment by Louise
  • on: 06/03/2009
I'm Italian and I'm speechless. Need I say more? Yes, absolutely stunning. Incredibly presented. I long for the journey you have taken us on. Thank you, FX. Thank you...
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Louise, glad you liked this taste from the Old Country!

  • #47
  • Comment by Daniele
  • on: 06/03/2009
Dearest FX,
You are on top of your game my friend, I follow you always with greeat envy I have to admit...I am an Italian now living in California and sometimes you are my most salivating connection to my bel paese.
Please continue your pleasurable efforts in showing this amazing places and people I dearly miss.

Ciao e a presto.
  • FX's answer→ Daniele, I wonder if such a meat could be produced in the US, there are so many farms and ecologically minded people there, perhaps they could find some high altitude pastures to raise pigs in the outside. After all they make great wine in California, hardly easier than making great meat!

  • #49
  • Comment by carmen
  • on: 06/03/2009
Hello Francious It is so good to hear from you. You are so lucky to see these things. Were do you get these ideas and information? Your blog fascinates me... Keep up the good work. I must say that you have the most interesting and original blog I have ever seen. Hope you and your loved ones are well. God bless you.
Warm Regards Carmen Kunhardt<
  • FX's answer→ Carmen, glad you like it! I got this lead from a Graukaese lady whom I never met but spoke to on the phone. Speck is an important ingredient in Tyrol and I really wanted to see how it was made - the real deal, that is!

  • #51
  • Comment by Jon
  • on: 06/03/2009
I too am sorry to hear that you're moving away from the wonderful combination of great photography and captivating accounts that you've been providing us with for the last 2 years.
The videos are looking very promising though and I'm really looking forward to seeing more! Hopefully soon and more often.
I produce video for a living, so if you need any help, advice or technical support please feel free to contact me, I am at your service.

Best

Jon
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Jon, I am still fighting with Premiere CS4 and its bloooody drivers but will definitely need advice in the future! What sort of videos do you work on?

  • #53
  • Comment by Patricia
  • on: 06/03/2009
FX, I truly love your photos and am a little sad they will no longer be available. Although, I am very excited to see your new videos. I have seen the videos you made and they are not only informative but comical.  I love it!  I am awed by your selection of places you visit, they are so beautiful and timeless. You present your work sooo well!  I am a buyer for a gourmet shop and I bring in Alto Adige Speck from Italy.  It is a unique product and if only my customers here could see what time, labor and dedication it takes to produce such a unique product they would buy it more.  It was funny to see in the 360panoramic view a stove top on top of a washing machine.  The room looks so rustic.  Thank you for sharing all your experiences with us and traveling the world of food in this amazing blog. You're the best!  Aloha-Patricia
  • FX's answer→ Patricia, from a professional gourmet shop buyer this is praise from Caesar, glad you like it! Yes the future videos should be rather fun to watch once I get over the technical hurdles.

  • #55
  • Comment by Bruce M
  • on: 06/03/2009
Ah, Francois-Xavier, what joy you bring!!  To be sitting here at my desk in Australia and then to be suddenly transported to Val d'Ultimo has been The Amazing Experience Of The Week!! :)  I guess some credit goes to Internet inventors, but the lion's share of praise goes to you, Monsieur FX!  Thank you so much, those Vermeer-like photos are treasures!

Hmm..   and that mention of his apricot jam has stirred my tastebuds!!  I dabble in hand-made jams and would love to learn Karl's secrets!

Warmest regards   B
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Bruce, ah Vermeer, you know how to speak to me! In the future you'll get the sounds and movements as well in films, that should be even better!

  • #57
  • Comment by the.asipring.baker
  • on: 06/03/2009
damn! i'll miss your photos fx! smth about vids that just can't quite capture the beauty of food or the landscape...
(loads faster too)
  • FX's answer→ Well, not always, cinema does capture landscapes pretty well I think, and there are ways to shoot digital and get similar results. And they will keep loading faster and bandwidth improves...

  • #59
  • Comment by Nigel Redhead
  • on: 06/03/2009
Just to thank you for your article on Japanese Knives.

And pointing me in the direction of Chef's Depot.

I ended up with a set made in CHINA !!!

Regards NR
  • FX's answer→ Yes Nigel, indeed Chinese-made knives are not quite the same, but still very useful!

Speck is a new animal to me as I was weaned on Prosciutto but I became intrigued when I happened upon a package of it in a ski lodge's fridge.  I sampled a slice and was hooked.  

Thanks for the account of how it's done "old skool"!!

Let me say that while I'm sure your videos will be just as educational and enjoyable as your still photography, I'll miss the beautiful photos.  Please say you'll publish a few stills along with your vids!

I guess your new offerings will be "food porn talkies."

Many regards and thanks again for a wonderful site.  I'm thrilled to see what's new and upcoming at FX Cuisine.

<3 Chiffonade
  • FX's answer→ Yes, I'll try the line "And now for some old-fashioned food porn ..."

  • #63
  • Comment by Judith Basham
  • on: 06/03/2009
I could not agree with you more regarding the antiseptic attitude which oozes out of the EU.  It has and is killing centuries old traditions, which amazingly has not killed any of us thus far in great quantities.  I firmly and resolutely believe it is the fast food chains and cheaply antiseptically produced food which is murdering the G8 population, coupled with the attitude if food does not go "ding" it can't be food (micro wave food).  Beautiful aticule; I could nearly taste it.  Warm regards, Judth (ps had a superb time in Verbier; the car came back loaded with many Swiss delicacies AND a Rauclette machine.  Yum Yum)
  • FX's answer→ Judith, glad you had a fine time in Verbier, quite not part of the EU!

  • #65
  • Comment by Jo
  • on: 06/03/2009
You have struck gold there, rarer I think. I love the panorama shot especially. How do you find these places or do they come to you in a dream?
  • FX's answer→ Jo, in fact I read tons of books about the regions I visit, then speak to many people and go visit whenever I can such traditional producers. Serendipity if you will!

  • #67
  • Comment by Stephen
  • on: 06/03/2009
Please kindly re-consider the move to primarily video....So nice to drop by your site for a few minutes during the day and gaze at the lovely still images and crackling prose.  Video is fun, but it does not lend itself to casual browsing nor high definition images.
  • FX's answer→ Stephen, I'd have to become a monk and transform FXcuisine in a charity to be able to do this! But I'm sure you'll get to enjoy the vids in the future...

  • #69
  • Comment by Meramarina
  • on: 06/03/2009
"There are lots of people who produce their own dried meats, I did that with my uncle, it really is fun."

Oh no, FX, your poor uncle!  How could you !  (just joking! : )

Sorry about that.  

I have an uncle down South (USA) who has a yearly pig pickin' in the autumn.  I don't know if he dries or cures some of the meat afterwards but it would make sense to do so.  

I'm sure the videos will be great fun, since they are already good.  I am like many of your other commentators, though, in that I'll miss the photos and your writing a lot.  Well, the future films should keep us all smiling to see you hamming it up for the camera!  

You may now shoot a Speckknödel off of my head for my pickin' on your sentence!  

  • FX's answer→ Yeah I don't know how much drying would this particular uncle need to be cured, not much I guess. OK, I'll post some more pictures then!

  • #71
  • Comment by Shreela
  • on: 07/03/2009
I've never heard about meat smoked so long. I wish I could taste some. You mentioned juniper and rosemary; are those rubbed into the meat, or used with the smoke?

Although I have high speed connection which makes it easy to view movies, I still enjoy photograph pictorials -- unless there's a specific movement involved. Good luck with learning sub-titles you mentioned in response to someone else's comments. I learned very basic sub-titling from the web, and it was quite challenging, even though my results weren't very pleasing. But I don't do a big blog with movies, so I wasn't motivated to practice to improve 8^)

I would enjoy seeing a teaser photo in the RSS/XML/Atom feeds, thanks if you can.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Shreela, the spices are only used in the initial stage to flavor the meat. The smoke is that which is generated inside the kitchen when the man cooks.

  • #73
  • Comment by damascene
  • on: 07/03/2009
I love speck. I just found a source in New York City for the first time since my youth. It was great to learn how it made.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, glad you enjoyed the article!

  • #75
  • Comment by Charlie
  • on: 07/03/2009
Excellent article! I'd plan a trip around that. Loved the 360 too..
  • FX's answer→ Yes, if you go and visit try to see the pasture where the pigs live during the summer, I couldn't make it this trip!

  • #77
  • Comment by James (powerplantop)
  • on: 07/03/2009
What a treasure to be able to visit this location.

I am looking forward to the new videos ( I am subsribed on you tube) but do please keep including a few pictures. You have the eye to see greatness that others will miss.
  • FX's answer→ James, from now on I'll take pictures while we shoot (video) so that everybody will be happy - hopefully!

  • #79
  • Comment by don siranni
  • on: 08/03/2009
Francois,this one is really worth waiting for.I will use my cold smoker system,but the "Val" pasture will need to be substituted.I assume that the winter temp goes below freezing during the year cure time,or do they do something about that. I too,kinda hope the video takes a wee bit tooo long to replace the "real" pictures,that was a bit of a nasty break,sorta'
  • FX's answer→ Don, I knew you'd like this article! The kitchen is a place where the gentleman lives year round, so I don't think it ever gets below freezing. Let's hope not!

  • #81
  • Comment by Ben
  • on: 08/03/2009
Francois, as usual, your photography is excellent and the story you write is great as well.  All of us enjoy your hard work in creating these photo stories as well as your videos.  But I will also say that I prefer the photo stories to the video.  It's always possible to turn on the tv and see all the latest celebrity chefs showing us things.  What I enjoy most is lingering over your beautiful photos as I read the story.  I'm not going to stop visiting your site but I just wanted to let you know that your photo stories are much appreciated.  Thanks.

  • FX's answer→ Ben, I think my videos will, eventually, look as personal as my pictures, not like celebrity-chef-TV-crap.

  • #83
  • Comment by Mingus
  • on: 08/03/2009
Dear Francois,

Your videos are very well-made instructional videos -- but that's all they are and there are plenty of those out there. A talking head shot is just a talking head shot no matter how good the production quality is.

Your photography is where it's at. This is where you are contributing with something unique: storytelling, research and -- yes, really -- a poetic dimension.

I realize this is not your job, it's something you do in your spare time. You have to steer it in whatever direction you can in order to keep yourself interested in the project. You may be bored with the photo articles, you may be doing video simply because you want to learn how to do it -- which is fine. But as a reader, I can only hope you don't let the heart of FX drown in the bottomless time sink that is video production.

There is a reason why movie-making is a team effort, whereas most photographers work alone.

Keep up the good work, Francois -- I love your site!
  • FX's answer→ Mingus, I don't strive to make instructional videos like you'd find on Youtube, if these are the only food films you know about, then mine will be different, no doubt. Famous photographers work with scores of assistant. Tim Walker travels with something like 12 assistants to take one picture, for instance the lady in the tree ferns.

  • #85
  • Comment by michael
  • on: 08/03/2009
I'm always interested to read your articles, and have recommended your web site to many people! - Having said that "Speck" isn't my thing as I no longer eat Dead Animals! - Les Animaux sont mes amis et je ne mange pas mes amis! - What do you think of my French? - a few articles for fellow Vegetarians please. (if there are any among your 150,000 viewers!)
  • FX's answer→ Ah Michael this one is not for vegetarians but thanks for dropping by nonetheless. I will include cheese and pastry in a little while, highly vegetarians those!

  • #87
  • Comment by Beatrice
  • on: 08/03/2009
Bonjour Francois, a couple of years ago the (now probably broke) wonderful European health insurance sent my husband to stay for a two-week "cure" after knee surgery, to castel Fragsbourg, an old hunting lodge high above Merano.  Of course I tagged along, lol. It's one of the most interesting places we've stayed, and we had real speck every day.  
  • FX's answer→ Beatrice, was this what your chalet in Tyrol that you nearly bought looked like?

  • #89
  • Comment by AlysM
  • on: 09/03/2009
Again, very good and informative. Thank you.

I'm with Manda.
I don't sit through your videos and will mourn the loss of your information if you do this way.

best
  • FX's answer→ Alys, perhaps I can arrange for black ribbons to be worn on the hat, with a fit insription such as "The inconsolable readers of Mr FX"?

  • #91
  • Comment by Jon
  • on: 09/03/2009
Hi Francois

I do a lot of short promotional videos and some documentary stuff as well, usually with a small production team but I'm mostly doing all the parts of the process.
If you're having problems with your drivers I'm suspecting your using a windows-based PC. With all the video-cards out there the software unfortunately doesn't always play nice with the hardware.
What kind of equipment are you using to record the video? Are you having any problems importing the footage or exporting the videos?
  • FX's answer→ Jon, the travails with Premiere Pro on PC with Matrox Axio seems to work now - somewhat. Too late to go to Mac now. We use a Sony EX3 with Letus Ultimate and softboxes with honeycombs. No problems to import the footage, some issues with mixing sound and the like, but I am slowly catching on. I think video fits the way I tell stories - one picture at a time with some comments!

  • #93
  • Comment by celso
  • on: 09/03/2009
Hi, François, I partly agree with my fellow readers. I like your videos too, but I don't think you may give up with the photo articles...
  • FX's answer→ A few picture articles are on the way!

  • #95
  • Comment by jmz
  • on: 10/03/2009
I like the videos, too but miss the photography articles.   What a great article!  I really need to go back to Tyrolia (where my ancestors are from- Austria!)    I loved the images of rustic kitchens and gorgeous rolling hills!  [also: as the spelling police it's "thigh" not 'tigh'  but feel free to edit this out, as I didn't intend this correction to be posted :) cheers!]
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for the correction, I miss having Trice edit my articles and it shows!

  • #97
  • Comment by Beatrice
  • on: 10/03/2009
Oh,now you make me feel guilty!  Much water under the bridge...working on a solar project in Dubai.  Once I get the investor literature under control, I promise to start editing! Salute!
  • FX's answer→ Beatrice, how fast you picked up my little allusion, now I feel embarassed! Have fun in Dubai, apparently great food over there too!

  • #99
  • Comment by Shu
  • on: 11/03/2009
like many here, I'll miss your beautiful pictures accompanied by wonderfully humorous writeup.
I'm already missing the twice a week regularity of your previous articles.
Maybe you could do photos for experiences and video for receipes?
But don't let me stand in the way of progress! I'm sure there's plenty of excitement to look out for in your videos. I still get a smile recalling your 1st ever video with swear words and bloopers!
  • FX's answer→ Shu, it's a great idea to make some photo articles for experiences, I have 4 ready to publish now (one is already up) plus 2 more possibly, so you'll have something to read!

  • #101
  • Comment by Tea
  • on: 17/03/2009
Ok, I have been following this blog for SO long and I finally decided to drop you a line. The articles and topics are so interesting, not the mention the photography. As a lover of speck, I was very pleased with this post...Can I only ask you to please give me the contact info of that boy that is cutting that piece of meat?! :))
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot for dropping by, Tea! Said boy works at the butcher's shop whose address you'll find in the article. A very nice village too!

Those responsible for bad food are the distributors and industrial producers.  Not the farmers.  Once again, the actual original workers are paying for the sins of the large -- kind of like the average American is paying for Wall Street.  Enough of this already!  Control the supermarkets and sales crews -- but let alone those of us who are adults and will take the responsibility for what we put in our mouths.
  • FX's answer→ And the consumers who often can't tell crap from good food, even here in Switzerland where it's made many people don't understand what is a fromage d'alpage!

  • #105
  • Comment by Anand
  • on: 24/03/2009
Hi François,

The reasons I have been drawn to your blog for a long time now are : 1. Amazing Food 2. Photographs accompanying the food 3. Your writing style. It truly transports the reader to the place you describe.

A a request from an avid reader, could you kindly continue to post your regular blog along with videos? This is most useful for office reading    :).

We will definitely enjoy the more live presentation in video, but a good photograph cannot be substituted with anything else. A lot of things can be really enjoyed and felt within the mind/imagination.

Looking forward to a lot more reading in the future.

Cheers,
Anand
(India)
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your kind words! Yes I will try to continue posting photo articles although my focus is now on video. Haven't found a way to take good still pictures of whatever we shoot on video, the lighting is different. But as I test my recipes before shooting, maybe we'll have a chance. Otherwise it will be mostly about food experiences rather than recipes, which will be filmed!

  • #107
  • Comment by felicity
  • on: 07/08/2009
Love this post! I live in Tirol (this is the proper way to spell it) and i am sure i have never tasted speck as good as the ones you picture! i was in Kärnten (another state of Austria) on the weekend and my Kärntener friends insisted that their speck was much better than the Tirolean speck! i don't want to get involved in these types of battles! You should make some Speckknödel (or Tirolerknödel), with melted butter and parmesan. Yum!!!
  • #108
  • Comment by Scott
  • on: 01/02/2010
I made speck from pork belly.  You can see the post in my blog.
  • #109
  • Comment by Wm Patrick Cranley
  • on: 23/01/2011
Just discovered your website, FX, and am mightily inspired.  It's already on my bookmark toolbar, and I look forward to "digesting" your full archive. Come visit us in Shanghai if you get a chance!
Regards,
Patrick Cranley
P.S.  Though, since it is nearly impossible to taste "real speck," that whole article was just a big tease...
I love speck. I have it when I was in Italy last. It's almost impossible to find here in the US.
I have an awesome recipe I was taught how to cook at a Tuscan cooking school.
You are so lucky to live in such a gastronomically rich area with access to such great food ingredients

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