PROVENANCE, SEASONALITY & ORGANICS
Three key tenets that have gathered the most momentum and enhanced the way we cook and dine
Provenance has always been at the heart of what we do at Food and Travel. It means knowing where our food comes from, who is behind it, what production methods are used and how it arrives on our plates. A perfect example is found on Kent’s Romney Marsh, where local lambs graze on salt-fed grass and samphire, resulting in meat with a delicious and complex flavour that finds its way to our kitchens and restaurants. While we might be leaving the EU, 65 of our treasured foods – like Melton Mowbray pork pies and Arbroath smokies – now have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, meaning they’re legally protected and can’t be replicated elsewhere.
Seasonality plays its own role in fine produce and over the last 200 issues, our content has always been dictated by the seasons. As a reader, you know that food eaten when freshly picked and perfectly ripe tastes best, contains the most nutrients and, as it is at its most abundant, is generally at its best value.
Taste trumps all, and as our palates have become more adventurous, we’ve craved flavours from further afield. Oliver Peyton’s great pleasure emporium, the Atlantic Bar and Grill, opened in 1994 and was famous for sending a van to France twice a week for the finest ingredients – many of which now grow happily on home soil. At the turn of the millennium, Japanese cuisine with produce flown 10,000km was all the rage, showing that to get the best, sometimes food miles are a must. By buying in quality produce from responsible sources, it also helps support local economies abroad.
Chefs such as Nigel Haworth have put the benefits of eating local on the agenda, encouraging us to be more aware of where food comes from and its heritage. In terms of using local ingredients, chef Michael Caines explains it best: ‘I like to stay in touch with and use local suppliers as I know what the area can yield. By discussing what I’m looking for, I have more control of the produce I work with.’ As we move into a new generation of eating, a world that has provenance at its core is one that we’re glad to be a part of.