An artisan is described as someone who has mastered a hand-made craft, the product made by an artisan is what we refer to as artisanal produce. Originally, the definition was limited to crafts-men such as wood-workers, sculptors and jewellery makers, but in recent times we see the definition used more frequently to describe food producers and products.
In the food industry, artisan producers have gained popularity among Chefs due to the desire to go back to the root of how things were originally made. The slow food movement has meant that foodies are embracing the role that time and tradition plays in developing flavour when it comes to basic kitchen staples such as bread, cheese and charcuterie. The joy of eating artisan foods is not only in the taste, but in the appreciation of the time and effort it takes to produce that single item and make it absolutely perfect. Also, one can’t help but admire the passion of the people who hone their skills and dedicate themselves to making the perfect bread or cheese or chocolate or charcuterie.
What you’re probably asking yourself, is if there is really a difference in flavour? My straight-forward answer is YES, absolutely! For example, think about the flavour, texture and scent of aged Parmesan cheese, then compare that to the flavour of any processed cheese – the difference is night and day.
Next time you go to a market and momentarily want to cringe at the fact that you are paying R45 for a loaf of bread, take a moment to think about the time it took to make that single loaf of bread. The fact that no machine played a role in the process, that an actual person was responsible for making sure that every ingredient and stage of the process is of the highest standard and quality. Savour the flavour and appreciate the artistry that has gone into every single bite.