Updated: Jul 17
The old “Terroir” term comes from the French winemaking industry and there is no equivalent English word... but means everything for down-to-earth foodies!
This is a word you might hear from me sometimes as I have re-invented and tagged my work into the direction of “terroir photography”. As a French speaker, that suits me well to keep this as it is because there is no English word for it anyway! Produit du terroir basically means "Local produce". Terroir is associated with the wine industry as winemakers and experts developed this concept of observation for centuries in France. It is a complex term, but the fact terroir comes from the word "terre" means simply soil, and also earth. All food that grows from the ground and trees can be considered as a product of terroir. Cheese and animal products, more likely artisanal, are also included. Each region, climate and country has its environmental factors affecting crop characteristics. One is the climate and surrounding nature of the location. The component of the soil and geographical terrain also has an important factor on all plants. And the other aspect is the traditions and techniques from human interaction from different cultures that brings the character of the produce.
I find everything about the artisanal local food and beverages beautiful, including the context and the making of the produce. For a few years now I have developed an interest with food photography. Living far from cities where work possibilities are larger still has other creative advantages. I can harvest and use fresh plants or crops straight from the garden in my photographic compositions. I can find beautiful locally made and/or cultivated produce from the whole region of the Snowy Valleys region as ingredients and props. I can ask producers to visit their farms with a camera and capture the nature where their produce grows. I find it so enriching to learn and hear stories from everyone that I meet doing this. The foodie culture of this region is growing and that is very exciting. The Tumut’s Co-op shop, Local at Learmont’s, opened in 2020, features farm and craft products from various makers and growers of the region (including my recipe cards and other limited homemade products), go check it out if you are around!
I was first going to name this blog “Terroir Foodie” but my Aussie husband was a little worried about the potential confusion with “terror” and suggested “Snowy Foodie”. I loved it too so the subtitle worked out as “Terroir food photography & blog”. I guess it all makes sense if you look at my photography portfolio. On this new life in Australia, I am lucky to be discovering so much about the slow food culture and progress my work in an agriculturally rich environment. This blog also helps me to accept the physical distance from my Canadian life by reconnecting and even learning more about my roots by writing some traditional inspired recipes. There will be two locations I will consider as “local” on Snowy Foodie as the land of snow where I was born, also owns amazing terroir features. Like Maple Syrup as the best example! Do I need to say more to convince that this word fits just right?