Artisan Foods

What are Artisan foods? Everyone else seems to know the difference except me. And I think it’s time I got caught up in something I know very little about.

  • Artisan -An artisan (from artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be … the craft of hand making food products, such as bread … KB (590 words) – 20:01, 4 April 2011
  • Workshop – The nearby Welbeck Estate has recently announced the launch of the School of Artisan Food schoolofartisanfood. in artisan food …

An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools. The term can also be used as an adjective (spelled “artisanal”) to refer to the craft of hand making food products, such as bread, tofu, beverages and cheese.
Manufacture by hand and with hand tools imparts unique and individual qualities to artisanal products, in contrast to mass produced goods where every one is nearly identical. Artisans traditionally work in media such as stone, wood, ceramics, glass, common and precious metals, basketry, textiles, esparto grass, leather, fur, wax, paper, and flowers.

And then there is slow food:

Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader Slow movement. The movement has since expanded globally to over 100,000 members in 132 countries. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalization of agricultural products.

And this is where things start getting complicated. Artisan food is something which I think I understand. But slow food starts getting a little more sinister. I have a difficulty with movements and particularly movements that claim to be anti-globalisation in the same breath as counting their membership in 132 countries. Stupidity has no place in the kitchen. It’s a personal thing. Its about individuals and how they express themselves. Slow to me means dull, unimaginative and parochial. Either that or just another excuse for bad service. And just to make myself clear and ensure that there is no ambiguity, I believe that only the very best establishments get this right. Bad service is part of the mix. Who in their right mind would ever start up a restaurant in the Garden Route? Bad service is our stock in trade. And it is only those restaurants who manage to survive despite the bad service, which we have over time perfected to a fine art, that are worth eating at. So next time you come across a review claiming that the restaurant of choice in the Garden Route offers impeccably good service, proceed with caution. The chances are that the quality of food is also synthesised and just as tasteless.