For people gripped with wanderlust like those of us here at realfoodtraveler.com, traveling to new countries is more than just a way to discover something new; it’s about bringing back lifetime memories. As the world becomes smaller and smaller, more and more people are learning about cultural dishes that they normally wouldn’t have had access to and they’re are in a mad dash to rebuild them at home, in part, as a way to bring back those wonderful travel memories. This brings both opportunities as well as problems for excited foodies.
People can try to replicate a dish they’ve recently discovered while visiting another country, but often find it difficult-to-impossible to capture the real essence of the dish. When it comes to food preparation, even restaurants that brand themselves as serving “authentic” food of a particular culture are limited by geographical and logistical boundaries. Take, for example, the iconic dish Paella Valenciana.
Many people outside of Valencia might have an idea of how this paella dish is supposed to be made and what ingredients go into it. However, the dish won’t have the iconic seafood or vegetables that give the original dish its distinctive flavor. Even if you’re using the same seafood, it won’t be seafood from the water the original dish used. The seafood will lack flavor from the water’s salinity, minerality, temperature, etc. – the “marroir,” if you will, of the water (similar to terroir for wine). Unfortunately, paella that has seafood or red peppers is not authentic at all, despite the popular image many might have of it, according to David Rosengarten of Saveur.com. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with innovation, it’s another to claim that something is “authentic” when it clearly isn’t.
Wines Can Be Truly Authentic
While it isn’t always possible to bring home crucial ingredients or fully master local techniques that make up a country’s food scene, the same doesn’t apply to finding great local wine. Wine is a wonderful cultural and gastronomic constant that can bring out the identity of a region and sometimes all it takes is a quick visit to the right wine shop or website to find the right bottle to bring back memories of trips past. Sometimes a single glass of a Santorini white or a Merlot will sate the urge to rediscover a country and bring those great memories flooding back.
When it comes to wines from regions off-the-beaten track, it can be harder to find a supplier for them unless you’re willing to buy directly from the wineries at their country of origin. For instance, for those looking to purchase wines from Israel, you’d have to find a dedicated distributor in that country to find it, a difficult and time consuming process.
There are merchants who specialize in wines from around the world. Chris Murphy, the head of M&S Wine, takes pride in finding some of the most enjoyable hidden gems from all over the world, with the goal of bringing new experiences to the table for even the most discerning client. He says, when it comes to wine, it’s all about finding something that’s truly authentic that let’s you discover more about the country, one bottle at a time. Contributed Post**