Three key tenets that have gath­ered the most mo­men­tum and en­hanced the way we cook and dine

Food and Travel (UK) - - 200 th Issue -

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.

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