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The story of Charcuteries La Cantina

Cédric Tourigny spent 10 years of his life in automobile mechanics. Today, he has another job for a while yet, but above all he puts a lot of effort into his business, Charcuteries La Cantina, a craft business specializing in Italian charcuterie. His boutique at 1440 rue Principale in Saint-Albert marked his first anniversary of opening on April 30.

The owner may not have his origins in the food industry, but he says he has always had a passion for cooking food and eating well. And a certain trip to Italy acted as a trigger, in a way. “Six years ago, with my girlfriend, we took a trip to Italy. I discovered their charcuterie there, which I already liked to eat here. But what we find in Europe, and especially in Italy, is really different. There is a big margin. It is of great quality. It’s almost incomparable, he observes. There are very few craftsmen who do it like there. »

At that time, Cédric Tourigny already had some equipment. “I was making fresh sausage, stuff like that, I already had a little base. But when I came back from Italy, being curious by nature and self-taught, I just wanted to learn how it was done, how it was done. I wanted to reproduce what was done in Italy in order, in the end, to eat my memories,” he explains.

So he set out to make them, starting, he says, with simpler things. Then, bit by bit, it grew. “I bought my first pig to be butchered and then I had my parts matured, etc. The project really came gradually. I gave it to friends, then to chefs. The people around me and the chefs liked what I was doing and it gave me confidence,” he says.

No breeding

La Cantina does not raise animals. Cédric Tourigny buys his raw material instead. “And I buy a particular breed of pig, Berkshire, a breed of pig that is more rustic, takes longer to fatten, but has better marbling, better quality,” he says.

He obtains his animals from a breeder in the Eastern Townships, in Cookshire, the Doré farm. “I was keen on this breed and, in addition, they raise their animals as much as possible in freedom. Animal welfare is important to me,” he says. To perfect his knowledge and his apprenticeship, Cédric Tourigny has, since this famous stay in Italy, made several trips to Europe. “To continue to learn, to know their mores, their traditions and their charcuterie. »

After buying the whole pig, he processes it on site. “We cut them up, salt them, smoke them or dry them entirely on site. For me, it’s important to try to showcase the entire animal, from head to toe, that there are as few losses as possible,” he points out, adding that there are several good interesting cuts. “It allows us to offer a greater variety of deli meats. Not all haircuts age the same. Some stuff doesn’t really age well, so we transform it in other ways. I consider it important to keep the aspect of buying the whole animal and highlighting it. Yes, it brings some complexity. We must therefore be creative to promote the whole animal,” he explains.

On average, the trader buys three animals per week. He employs, one day a week, a person to do the butchery work. In his shop, he offers different products, more traditional stuff like sausage, bacon, pulled pork, ham and ribs. But also a wide range of dried products, such as dry sausages, prosciutto and coppa.

In addition, the license he holds allows him to sell elsewhere, which he does precisely at the general store in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, at IGA in Warwick and in certain other places in Trois-Rivières, Drummondville and Victoriaville. .

Cédric Tourigny will also continue to participate in various events, such as certain markets. In June, we will find him at the Bière bouffe et traditions festival in Victoriaville and, in the fall, he will be part of the Gourmet Walk.

Nice evolution

The owner of Charcuteries La Cantina is satisfied with the evolution of his business in one year. He explains the nature of his license (which allows him to sell elsewhere) to the fact that he thought that the sale on the spot in Saint-Albert was going to be good, but nothing more. “I was pleasantly surprised to see people come here, even in winter. People come from all over. It is certain that we benefit from the traffic of the Fromagerie du Presbytère. It attracts people and it helps us, ”he says.

Cédric Tourigny also notes that the pandemic has raised awareness among consumers who are looking for more local products. “It is beneficial for us, the small craftsmen. It encouraged local buying. People find out where the products come from,” he points out.

Charcuteries La Cantina is thus off to a very good start, so that if everything continues to go well, Cédric Tourigny could even leave his main job earlier than expected and perhaps move up his full-time entry into the adventure by three months. . “It’s a good indicator that business is going well,” he concludes.

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