Terroir only in wines? Certainly not!

One of the most important food trends in this modern day and age, is that our food choices say something about us.  History’s first Food Blogger Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s expression: “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are” is truer than ever. Just ask anyone: “Is your diet animal-based or plant-based? And if you do eat animal-based products, how have the animals been treated and where do they come from or is it all sustainably produced?”

Our food choices provide us with a sense of identity, of belonging, of morality even. Moreover, everywhere we go, we seek authentic experiences. Italian food should be authentically Italian, Japanese food authentically Japanese and so on. The time that flavours and habits were toned down to locally acceptable standards, are I think gone. And while consumers are asking for authentic experiences, chefs are also actively searching for their own authenticity.

All over the world, chefs are starting to prioritize local ingredients over exotic ones. Chefs like Rene Redzepi (Noma, Copenhagen), Alex Atala (D.O.M, São Paulo) and Virgilio Martinez (Central, Lima) use the terroir -the unique environmental characteristics that create a distinct flavour or quality in a product- of their respective regions and cultural heritage to create culinary masterpieces with only local ingredients, even including insects, moss and bark into their dishes.

In the Netherlands, more and more chefs start to follow this philosophy too: Joris Bijdendijk, Jonnie Boer and Albert Kooy for example are all fervent advocates of the (New) Dutch Cuisine to bring back an authentic identity to Dutch foods and techniques, letting the intrinsic quality of Dutch ingredients and dishes speak for themselves.

All in all, what all of these chefs have in common, is that they are storytellers. They use their ingredients and preparations to tell us the tales of their terroir. I think the biggest challenge for the food industry is to match this level of storytelling and authenticity. One might say that telling stories is a marketing-thing, but I am convinced that telling an authentic story, starts with the development of an authentic recipe and production process.

At TOP bv, we are constantly working on new processing techniques and equipment that preserve the intrinsic qualities of fresh ingredients in order to protect the naturally occurring nutrients, flavour and texture as much as possible and to develop recipes and products that tell the right story, that create a sense of identity and that say something about who we are. Do you want to explore the possibilities to implement our techniques into your production process? Get in touch with us via .

Oscar Hoogland

Food Technologist