The Taste of a Place

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rowan Jacobsen explains terroir—the "taste of place"—and the way local conditions such as soil and climate affect the flavor of wine and other foods. American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields is the first guide to how our environment influences some of our most iconic foods—including apples, honey, maple syrup, coffee, oysters, salmon, wild mushrooms, wine, cheese, and chocolate. It includes recipes by the author and important local chefs, and a complete resource section for finding place-specific foods.


Rowan Jacobsen

Comments [11]

David from Brooklyn

Wonderful guest!

I grew up in Vermont, drizzling maple syrup on my mother's half-whole wheat pancakes, but never thought to ask whether the maple trees grew over a bedrock of schist or limestone. Hah!

There has been grade inflation since my childhood in the '70s, when Grade A syrup was always light colored and light tasting.

(By the way, the container itself has a great deal to do with the taste. Maple syrup from a can becomes quite tangy after a while; glass-held syrup does not. I haven't noticed, do the opaque plastic jugs impart a flavor?--in the short term, at least, they seem neutral as glass, if homelier.)

Nov. 21 2010 03:49 PM

Ah, too bad I'm just getting to this on podcast, would have been curious to run this one by guest-- coincidentally recently ordered this product, which is the ONLY way you can make true San Francisco sourdough:

Lactobacillus sanfrancisco bacteria

Purchased here:

Nov. 09 2010 10:05 PM
Mark from tastes like NJ

If we support the efforts of Mr Jacobsen and his ilk, aren't we letting the terroirists win?

Nov. 09 2010 02:05 PM
rachel from manhattan

bourbon is only bourbon if it's from kentucky

Nov. 09 2010 01:56 PM

Leonard you can buy good maple syrup (more nutritious grade B even) from local farmers

Also, didn't you notice teh taste of fresh fruits and veggies in Italy recently? It's really striking - esp things like melons from Israel

Nov. 09 2010 01:52 PM
Ivey from Brooklyn

Terroir is important because it helps preserve old ways of farming, and traditional foods, that must be kept in a certain way. It is a centuries old practice and bringing it to the USA will help small farmers thrive. And will help preserve their natural environments.

A professor of mine from college was working towards an american terroir to help preserve heirloom varieties and to help foster a slow food movement in America.

And, what about Sourgum trees, we use their sap.

Nov. 09 2010 01:49 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm a little surprised that birch sap doesn't make good syrup. Is it something else from birch trees that goes into birch beer?

Nov. 09 2010 01:49 PM
dboy from nyc

"Local" , sustainably raised, healthier foods need to be available to more rather than fewer.

We need to subsidize small producers as opposed to big industrial agriculture.

Nov. 09 2010 01:47 PM
dboy from nyc

Lenny - it is elitist!

When there are no longer hungry undernourished people then it will be o.k. to blather on about the subtle variations of oyster salinity!

Buy local but think more broadly!

Nov. 09 2010 01:41 PM

I think people who care about nutrition appreciate what the price of real food really is

They are not elitist! Who started that, anyway!

Check out the keynote speech of Gary Hirshberg at Slow Money 2010 (Shelburne Farms on Slow Money website)

There's a huge difference between buying lettuce from California regularly and trending locavore but eating fair trade products - I think what we are trying to support sustainability

Nov. 09 2010 01:39 PM

New England MacCouns vs NY MacCouns

Nov. 09 2010 01:31 PM

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