We’re fooling ourselves if we think we’re real foodies
Chocolate is the latest product in our foodie, got-to-have-it, made-to-order craze.
Arno Backes, a Melbourne based chocolatier says there’s growing popularity and interest in the way chocolate is made, with more and more us demanding fine European couverture and a specific cocoa content.
“We’ve ended up with a real chocolate culture,” Backes told The Age.
“Thirty or 40 years ago, Australians just drank red or white wine — they didn’t really think about the grape variety or the region.
“It’s the same with chocolate. People understand a lot more about it now than they did even four or five years ago,” he said.
But this kind of thinking hasn’t transferred when it comes to the weekly supermarket shop.
A Choice magazine survey has found that despite the fact many of us choose to shop at generic supermarkets, there’s a huge discrepancy in the “freshness” and “quality” of the food on the shelves, particularly fruit, vegetables and meat.
Especially as we continue to demand “fresh” foods, like pears, mangos, cherries and even fennel outside of their natural season.
David Oakenfull, a former CSIRO scientist told News.com.au that fresh apples, pears and kiwi fruit can be stored for up to as long as 12 months and “technological advances mean producers can also potentially leave store cuts of lamb for up to 112 days and chilled beef mince for up to 44 days”.
I’ve got no idea just how “technological advances” help meat last 44 days,but it’s enough to make you want to start a vegetable garden, get friendly with a local farmer or decide to shop online.
Another survey taken by Choice earlier this year found that while only five per cent of their subscribers’ regularly purchased groceries online, it was the smaller operations, like Aussie Farmer Direct that gave the highest levels of satisfaction.
And that’s an important consideration when it comes to food, especially if like Backes, you aim for discerning customers.
“There were always chocolate shops where people would go to buy a box of chocolates, but I wanted do something different. I wanted to give people a complete experience, to capture the essence of what chocolate is all about,” he said.
So why are we so inconsistent in the way we shop?
On the one hand we have Coles and Woolworths, supermarket giants who claim 70 per cent of our dry goods and 50 per cent of our fresh foods market. And on the other we have a general obsession with anything biodynamic, organic, locally grown and “artisan” made.
But maybe that’s the way it has to be – and we should ignore the fact that we’re running out of cocoa beans as a flag for some introspection on the way we’re using up our natural resources in the name of “good taste”.
Then again, perhaps we’re just comfortable with having a passionate and well-fed foot in both camps.
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