Recently, the word “artisanal” is quickly becoming attached to many items you can find amongst supermarket shelves. This leads people to think that artisanal just means raised prices and special ingredients even if the product is mass produced. While special ingredients may have a hand in artisanal gourmet food, it is not the only thing that differentiates truly artisanal products.
What is Artisanal Anyway?
In a nutshell, artisanal food pertains to items that are given particular care, ensuring its exceptional quality and ability to give an extraordinary experience. This can range from food products typically made by hand, like bread and cheese, to those that require industrial methods like wine and meats.
According to The Hartman Group, food industry experts, artisan food should fulfil three criteria. One, it should be made by a real person with care. Second, it should be made by hand or in limited quantities using specialty ingredients. And finally and most importantly, it has to reflect a tradition, ideology, or a process that makes it stand out.
Made with Tradition
The word “Artisanal” has its roots in “artisan”, which pertains to skilled workers passionate about their craft. More than just special ingredients like truffles or caviar, artisan food prioritises the value of the hard work and artistry that comes with production. Artisanal food respects tradition without discounting innovation.
In much simpler times, food is always artisan: homemade, lovingly prepared, and created with special innovations that serve the needs of the time period. As the world became industrialised, it meant cheaper and faster options for food preparation, but at the cost of the touch of human interaction that can imbue meals with the magic that comes from cooking with love.
There is a reason why truly artisan products tend to come at a premium. Not only are you paying for the heritage that comes with a brand that continues a tradition, it also involves the painstaking attention to detail that comes with the creation of artisanal food.
How to Know if Food is Artisanal
The criteria for meeting the “artisanal” standard is different for various foodstuffs. For example, bread made with simple ingredients, in small, careful batches using an age-old process can be considered artisanal.
Cheese is easier to distinguish. Most artisanal cheesemakers stamp their wares with a batch number to assure you that it is of limited quantity. Artisanal cheese does not use any artificial ingredients, and is typically made from cow, sheep, goat or carabao milk, depending on its origins.
Many people also treat themselves with a simple meal topped with artisanal condiments, elevating the quality of the food they eat with a little luxury. Artisanal condiments need to be made without artificial preservatives, choice ingredients and ideally made in limited quantities to make sure of its quality.
To ensure that you’re getting the best of artisanal food, check out the offerings at Fave Fine Food. We are Singapore’s premier supplier of gourmet fine food and purveyor of the fine dining experience you can bring to your home kitchen.
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