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Is terroir/taste of place real?

Does the origin of a place a food product originated from in of itself provide a taste or mouth-feel to the party, excluding what taste a product would normally have from plain old trying to make good product? Like for instance, with the same procedure, same species of grass feed for the animal, and etc., would a parmesan cheese made in Canada taste different from parmesan cheese made in Italy? Also, can one be a legitimate foodie and/or chef without traveling to Spain to have authentic Spain mushrooms? :p

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  1. YES, terroir is real.

    Yes, cheese made in Canada will taste different than cheese made in Italy (yes, it does, actually).

    Of course you can be a legitimate foodie and/or chef without traveling to Spain...but you just have to keep in the back of your mind that the recipe will not taste exactly like the version prepared in Spain until you've had it in the region where those mushrooms are harvested.

    (because we've all managed to argue until we agree that 'authentic' doesn't really mean anything)

    1. Terroir is absolutely real, but it is more marked with some things than others. It has a HUGE impact on wine. Many many years ago I was cooking at my mother's house (not an easy thing to do), and needed a Riesling wine. My mother said she'd run to the liquor store and brought back a "Spanish Riesling." That vineyard had soil so chalky it made the wine taste like dirt. Terrible stuff and spoiled the sauce and I quit trying to cook at my mother's house! As a kid, I once fed a hungry neighbor's cow a box of tomatoes. The cow was staked on our acreage and had eaten all its chain would allow, so another kid and I picked tomatoes and took them to the cow. The next day the cow's owner was screaming at my grandfather because I had turned her cow's milk into tomato soup! And she brought a bucket of it to prove it. Yup. The milk even tasted tomatoey, so things like cheeses are heavily impacted by terroir and all it implies. There is an almond tree (and maybe a grove) on the side of Mount Pelion in Thessaly, Greece that produces almonds that taste like none other in the entire world. But not all plant foods are impacted on as heavily by where they grow as others. However, go hydroponic and you'll get global uniformity!

      As for your Spanish mushroom question, if you have the wherewithall, you can always have Spain flown to you! '-)

      1. There is, IMO, an element of terroir that can be tasted on occasions. A Cheddar made in south west England will probably taste more Cheddar-like than one manufactured elsewhere.

        That said, for the French (and those elsewhere who accept the concept of terroir), it's more than just taste - it's about being in tune with your region's produce, so, in that very important respect, terroir is a cultural thing. And, in that, it's very real.

        1. Coffee from Ethiopia carries a blue fruit wine-like taste that I don't notice in other coffees. I think it due to terroir.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Chinon00

              Not that you shouldn't like blueberry, but it doesn't really pertain to terroir.

              The blueberry in some Ethiopian coffees (Harrar) is due to the processing. This region uses "dry" (aka natural) processing, drying the beans still in the fruit and the blueberry taste is due to fermentation. This type processing is often done in areas with very little fresh water supply. They use dry processing in Yemen as well. It's difficult to get consistent quality. Most coffee professionals consider the ferment a defect, however, Harrars are a good introductory coffee to teach consumers that not all coffee tastes the same.

              You can read more about that here: http://www.coffeereview.com/reference...

              Beans from other regions in Ethiopia (notably Yirgacheffe) are wet processed (as are beans from most of the rest of the coffee-growing world). These coffees more often have bergamot and floral notes instead of big fruit. You may find some dry processed coffees from Sidamo, but they are done that way intentionally and the QC is different, so something like a Sidamo "Ardi" will have some blueberry, but also more consistency cup-to-cup.

              Keep in mind that you'll get better coffee the higher up the mountain you go. This isn't necessarily related to terroir but rather the heat/cool the cherries receive. But there are distinct differences country to country and region to region, sometimes mountain to mountain (or even which side of the mountain).

              Some of this is due to the varietal (bourbon, SL-28, caturra, etc.) In really broad general terms (really really broad) a typical Kenya AA will often exhibit black currants and a tomato-ey acidity while Burundis might be plummy and tamarind and Rwandans stone fruit and tangerine. Many Mexicans have strong chocolate notes. Many Central and South Americans are citrusy.

              A lot of coffee tasters can tell the origin on one taste (not me unfortunately). So yeah, there are a range of influences on what a coffee tastes like, both naturally occurring and man-made. Terroir is one of these variables.

              I didn't mention Sumatrans because Sumatra generally processes in a hybrid way unique to them that creates their 'earthy' quality. That's a story for another time.

              If you've read this far you probably wish you had that time back :-)

            2. Terroir does not mean it is better, just different.

              Cheese (artisanal) made in England will be different than one made in Canada; and both will be very good and appeal to different taste.

              Terroir also mean the context (cultural and societal) where the food is prepared, when eating in a different country than your own, you will be eperiencing a lot more than just the ingredients, but also the life of the country.

              As for your example, eating a mushroom dish in a tapas bar in Sevilla, standing up with a glass of Fino Sherry at 11pm, will be quite different than eating the same dish sitting down at home in front of the TV.

              32 Replies
              1. re: Maximilien

                but the flavors ARE there, and they ARE real...the water, the soil, the fertilizer...they're all a part of terroir, just as much as atmosphere and tradition and technique.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Yes, different, but not necessarilly better.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Atmosphere and technique = "terroir"?

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      environment, atmosphere, technique...all of it.

                      It's part of the reasoning behind AOC/AOP labeling in Europe...it has to be made a certain way, with certain ingredients, to bear the name.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        When you say "atmosphere" do you mean the physical surroundings of where you are consuming a product? That's not terroir. If I drink a Morgon in Philly it's still a Morgon.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          But if you drink a Morgon in Beaujolais, as opposed to a non-Beaujolais wine, then that is certainly about understanding the concept of terroir.

                            1. re: Chinon00

                              Because it's all about linking people to the food and the food to the environment and the environment to the people.

                              Sorry - best I can do by way of explaining. Difficult to explain to someone, easy to experience.

                              It's going to a restaurant in, say the Pas de Calais, and the cheese chariot only having the likes of Maroilles, Ch'ti Cremeux, Wissant and L'Ecume de Wimereux - and knowing that the owners have felt no need to offer a wider geographical selection

                              1. re: Harters

                                I think that you might be conflating the psychological effect of what being someplace has on your perception of taste with the ACTUAL effect that soil, climate, terrain, etc can have on taste. Both can have an impact for sure but aren't the same thing.

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  No, I don't think I am (although I had never heard the word "conflating" before and had to look up its meaning and am, perhaps, still unsure of its meaning)

                                  With regard to you second sentence, you are correct that both aspects are not the same thing. But both aspects contribute to the concept of "terroir".

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    "But both aspects contribute to the concept of "terroir".

                                    Per what or which source(s)?

                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                      Sorry, don't understand the question.

                                      Are you asking if I have evidence for my belief about what impacts on the concept of terroir? If so then no, of course not. It is simply my understanding of the concept of terroir. If not, then please rephrase your question. Thanks.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        So it's your understanding that "terroir" has no rigid definition that can be referenced from a book?

                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          Absolutely that's my understanding. There's no way that such a concept can be referenced, IMO. See my earlier post (the one mentioning Pas de Calais cheeses) -to my mind, there really is nothing more needed by way of explanation, although Wikipedia uses a good phrase, describing "terroir" as a "sense of place" - taking it beyond the physical aspects of producing food.

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            The rest of that wiki quote reads: ". . which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the PRODUCTION of the product. No where in the wiki entry does it discuss the psychological effect place can have on the consumer of the product. You are overthinking this thing.

                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                              "No where in the wiki entry does it discuss the psychological effect place can have on the consumer of the product."


                                              However, describing terroir as a "sense of place" is as good a definition for me as anything - hence me sayiing in the previous post that it is a "good phrase".

                                              And please don't assume that I'm doing any thinking here. Thinking is the last thing I want to do about my understanding of the concept of terroir. Please try to understand that this is about feelings.

                                              By the way, what's your understanding of the concept of terroir, assuming you think there is one?

                                              For info (as I've mentioned the Pas de Calais)

                                              1. re: Harters

                                                "By the way, what's your understanding of the concept of terroir, assuming you think there is one?"

                                                Sure, it's the effect that the soil, terrain and climate imparts on the flavor of an agricultural product.

                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                  sometimes it can be defined scientifically.

                                                  Sometimes it just IS.

                                                  Science hates grey, I know -- but sometimes it's' grey, not black or white.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    That I agree w/. We may not understand completely how nature informs an agricultural product. And we may not understand how our physical surrounding inform our perception. But both remain two different things. One is perceived and the other real.

                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                      Yes, but its the perception that, to my mind, turns the physical characteristics of producing a crop into "terroir" or, as I think I now prefer a "sense of place".

                                                      The two aspects are inseparable if the concept of terroir is to be understood.

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        "The two aspects are inseparable if the concept of terroir is to be understood."

                                                        To you I'm sure it does however I've never heard of this from anyone else; the idea that eating the exact same product in different locations allows said product to express the terroir of where you are consuming it. If I eat a Vidalia onion in Philly it tells me something about Philly? I don't get it.

                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                          Nooo...it's only when you consume a food in its home -- so a Vidalia onion would only have that "something" if it were IN Vidalia, GA.

                                                          It's much like Louis Armstrong's reply when asked to define jazz -- "if you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."

                                                          One day you'll be having a meal in some special place, and boom -- it'll hit you, and then you'll understand.

                                                          (that's not being derisive or snobby, by the way -- it's one of those things that you have to experience, and then it defies description)

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            "so a Vidalia onion would only have that "something" if it were IN Vidalia, GA"

                                                            Is that "something" chemical or psychological?

                                                            Edit: Does it come from the food or the mind?

                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                              Where food is grown makes a difference in how it tastes. If somebody gets a warm tingly feeling from eating it at that place; more power to them but that is something different.

                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                Comes from the mind, Chinon.

                                                                Hence the references to "sense of place". I appreciate that, as you say, you don't get it.

                                                                I've run out of words that might try to help you understand these feelings we have and can only suggest you re-read my contributions and those of others to see if it helps more on second reading. If not, then c'est la viie.

                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  And as I've said from the very beginning of this conversation I completely acknowledge the psychological impact that place can have on how we perceive things including food. But psychological impact is not the same as the chemical impact brought upon by way of the environment that the food was grown in.
                                                                  The wife and I travel a bit and were in Berlin just last year eating Blut und Leberwurst, shoulder to shoulder w/ Berliners in a local deli. It was quite an experience and we enjoyed this Berliner dish; that I'm sure benefited from the authentic smells and surroundings. But that wasn't terroir.

                                                                2. re: Chinon00

                                                                  I don't know what it is (and it doesn't matter, really) -- I only know that it is.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    So you can't be sure if some chemical transformation occurs or not within a product when said product is consumed in one place versus another? Isn't it obvious that it is psychological?

                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                      I can't discuss it with you, because you've never experienced it...without hooking someone up to monitors, how can you be certain it ISN'T psychological?

                                            2. re: Harters

                                              Terroir is much simpler, Harters. It's really just the effect of soil, climate, farming techniques, etc. on agricultural products.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I think it has to do with the water and soil, too. There is a discernible difference because of these two factors.

                            1. re: luckyfatima

                              My example is green beans. My grandmother lived in the mountains of north Georgia. She grew the most delicious green beans I have ever tasted. The were old family heirloom seeds and we grew the same ones here in west central Georgia and they just didn't taste the same.

                              It was not her cooking either, we would bring raw beans home and cook them and they would taste just like hers.

                        2. Kind of like when the cows switched to and from pasture to winter silage.... for a bit, the milk would taste "funny" and then you get used to it. It would switch back....
                          The soil, the water, the air, the ecosystem turns out food that is the direct result of it's components. Of course there is a difference in the way the "exact" thing turn out in different parts of the world.
                          Take bagels, for instance...... we all know where we could go with that.
                          Yes, one can be a foodie wherever and whatever one's circumstances. It's a label that one attaches to self and others. Just that, a label. Can one appreciate the subtleties of flours grown in various climates? Can one appreciate the concept of lutefisk if one has never taken that smell up the nostrils? hmmmmmm...... have to think about that one.
                          Hence the gardener, one that grows their own food. Because it tastes better. They have personal control over the ecosystem, to a degree. If I were to grow food directly into my backyard "soil" it would taste like crap. I would need to buy the soil and it's components, create a raised bed, in order to grow great tasting vegetables. Believe me, I've tried. I've settled on some herbs, and different ornamental/floral perennials.
                          Loved the story upthread about the tomato milk!

                            1. Loving this thread. I've always heard it explained as more about the character or experience of a place as reflected in its products than simply the effect of soil, climate, etc. on flavor. More like the "sense of place" that Harters refers to, I guess. Yes, it's probably a subjective thing, but that doesn't make it less real... only less scientific / quantifiable.

                              Here's an interesting take: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/200...

                              19 Replies
                              1. re: missmiscellanea

                                "I've always heard it explained as more about the character or experience of a place as reflected in its products.."

                                Would you mind sharing an example w/ us?

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  I can't name a specific source (other than the article I linked to)... but one was a documentary exploring the various wine regions of France. And I believe I've read similar (albeit ambiguous) explanations in articles on wine, but too long ago to remember the publications. It does seem, though, that this is a perspective I hear *mostly* from the French... that terroir is something unquantifiable and experiential. But maybe most Americans would define it, as you have, in more objective terms. Which would make sense since (as the article I linked to suggests in its last paragraph) our culture is so young in comparison and hasn't had time to develop the kind of depth that French culture—and therefore terroir—has...? I dunno. Just theorizing.

                                  1. re: missmiscellanea

                                    The idea that terroir is unquantifiable and experimental is something that I'm not completely quarreling with. We don't understand probably exactly how soil, climate and terrain effect agricultural products. We may not know how certain farming technique effect produce either. But we remain within the chemical and mechanical realm in discussing these things. The psychological impact of being in a certain place at a certain time has an impact as well (that we also may not completely understand) but only in the psychological realm. We are conflating these two at least partially still mysterious phenomenons into one..

                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                      So you're of the opinion that the psychological impact is not an aspect of terroir, is that fair to say? If so, I guess that's where our opinions differ... I always thought terroir encompassed all of that, which was why nobody could really explain it in clear terms. But maybe I've just misinterpreted those explanations and it is, in fact, something more scientific or "chemical and mechanical," as you say. I do kind of have a thing for ambiguity.

                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                        Okay, let's throw it to the US...not quite as lofty descriptions, but nonetheless, some assertations I've heard over the years:

                                        Tastycakes only taste right if you're in Philadelphia.
                                        They make sandwiches with steak and cheese sandwiches all over the world, but it's only a cheesesteak if you eat it in Philadelphia.
                                        (Note I'm not picking on Philly- that's just two of the more vehement assertations I've heard)
                                        Chicago hot dogs IN Chicago (deep dish pizza, too)
                                        Cuban food in Florida (there's even an argument about Cuban food in Tampa versus Cuban food in Miami)
                                        Sourdough IN San Francisco (even the stuff they ship out of SF)
                                        Green chili anything IN Albuquerque
                                        Barbecue IN Memphis

                                        See where this is going? All of this is terroir -- not just the ingredients, but inexorably tied to a sense of PLACE.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          As a native Philadelphian I can assure you that natives have many of our local foods shipped to them in other parts of country where they live. Hoagies and tastykakes are probably being shipped overnight from Philly to parts of Florida right now. Obviously they want an authentic taste of home; which they can get anywhere.

                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                            but everybody says that it's a fix, but it's not the same. THAT is terroir.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              I appreciate the notion that you and Harters are championing, but I think it is a different, "higher," romanticized notion of terroir than the concept actually carries. Moreover, you are applying it well beyond agricultural products, as clearly exemplified by your list above. Terroir, at its essential level, fundamentally requires that the "sense of place" can be contained in the product and appreciated anywhere that product may be consumed. In other words, terroir requires that it can be transported.

                                              The classic examples of tea, coffee, and wine all provide clear illustrations of this. There are elements of Ethiopia or Hawaii contained in the beans and expressed in the brews wherever it is tasted. To use another example, if I take a height of season tomato from my yard here at the Jersey Shore, it will still exhibit elements of terroir when I arrive in Ohio and eat it. A product born of the soil and nurtured by the elements inextricably contains some of that soil and some of those elements - that is what we are talking about when we say "terroir."

                                              At the risk of belaboring the point, I'll try one more explanation of the simpler, less "spiritual," version of the concept. Let's sat you sit at any given chateaux and sip wines from two different vintages. Now the place is the same, the wines production techniques are all the same, yet each will exhibit slightly different terroir based upon the weather in the two different years in which the grapes were grown.

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                nope. If they're from the same chateau and the same vigneron, the terroir is the same. They taste different because of the different growing conditions, but the terroir is the same.

                                                It isn't quantifiable, and the only way to really understand is to have experienced it.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  I agree the terroir is the same for both vintages.

                                                  The concept of terroir is entirely a human emotion in my mind. It is saying our local products are different from your similar local products - and our products are more to our taste than yours would be. It's why many restaurants near me make reference to the local provenance of their ingredients. It's why, as I mentioned upthread, a restaurant in the Pas de Calais (actually in the town of Calais) is proud to offer only cheeses from that region. They do not advertise that fact to customers - there is no need - it is simply accepted that they would be local.

                                                  Those restaurants do not need to explain the concept of terroir as they know that those who appreciate the concept will already understand the sense of place.

                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                    So, you are taking the position that the location where various food items are produced has no effect, other than emotional, on the way they taste?

                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                      For the benefit of those who think I am discounting physical factors, I'd refer them back to my initial contribution to this thread.

                                                      All of my subsequent contributions may be read in the context of that initial post. I've tried really hard to explain my views on this thread, repeating lyslef on occasions. Apologies if my command of words has been insufficient to do this well enough for you to understand me. .

                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                      "The concept of terroir is entirely a human emotion in my mind."

                                                      Then the entire appellation system in European winemaking that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years doesn't have physical meaning just emotional?

                                                    3. re: sunshine842

                                                      I realize I stretched to try to make the point, but climate, including each season's growing conditions, is part of the terroir exhibited by the product.

                                                      While I appreciate your Potter Stewart approach to explaining the esoteric, mysterious notion of terroir, the term's meaning has evolved and applies more concretely. I do understand both. I have a friend who "farms" oysters on a particular nook in the Southern Maryland part of the Chesapeake. The brackish waters in that location produce an oyster with a distinct flavor from many others cultivated in the Bay. I have sat with him on the waterfront shucking the bivalves and devouring them in many ways. It is an exceptional experience and one which the place itself is essential to. On the other hand, if I took a bushel of those oysters to Philadelphia and served them, the diners would still taste their distinct flavor.

                                                      In effect, the former notion, the one of ancient mystery, is combination of subjective factors, both psychological and physiological. Even without any food, you are still experiencing a part of that “being” in place. Now, adding to that a product belonging to that place, borne of it, you are enhancing the subjective experience. That enhancement is due to the fact that the product is part of the place.

                                                      Nevertheless, that product is a part of that place whether it is in that place of not. This latter notion, the one of objective experience, appears to be the more widely held, evolved concept of terroir.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        Using the wine example one clear distinction is that "terroir" is provided by clear demarcation. This plot produces Morgon wine and the next plot over produces another; each expressing unique terroir. You are not suggesting than your definition is as specific? That if we drink Morgon wine in Morgon and then drink it literally yards away on a different plot of land that something will be lost?

                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                          I'm not going to be drawn into an obtuse maze of what-ifs.

                                                          If you don't know what it is, okay -- hopefully one day you'll discover it.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            My point isn't that you are wrong or that what you are talking about isn't significant. It is obvious to me tho' that what we are discussing isn't the same. Otherwise a bottle of wine from one appellation should NOT taste the same if it were consumed in a neighboring vineyard of a different appellation. However wine FROM two different neighboring appellation DO taste different. That's our point.
                                                            Having said that yes yes yes we have all been caught up in the moment during vacation enjoying the local cuisine and wine often bringing items home with us. And finding to our disappointment that they don't taste quite the same outside of that moment. We know what you are talking about.

                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                    After reading this far down, what you're basically saying is that terroir of a particular ingredient really is "taste of place" in that to best experience it you must be in that place near where it was grown. Because any attempt to transport, regardless how much care is made in processing and transportation for shipping, that specific taste cannot be reproduced elsewhere.

                                                    Therefore a fish is best consumed on the boat. Probably true but highly impractical.

                                                    Btw, I hate the Philly cheesesteak example. I've had many better cheesesteaks than in Philly. But they're not "Philly cheesesteaks" because I personally detest Whiz. That particular sandwich also depends on the bread, a style used in Philly that's hard to find elsewhere (perhaps because of the water?) But I don't think I'd classify cheesesteaks as exhibiting 'terroir' because nothing was actually grown in Philadelphia.

                                          2. I've been reading definitions of "terroir" online.... it seems that it was used by French wine makers to describe the concept that different soils produce different wines (same grape, but different soil). It has been expanded to include other environmental factors as well.
                                            I think that although "sense of place" comes into play, (eating that sandwich in Philly), there is the stand alone concept of terroir, thus the reason that many foods are shipped to people all over the world. The shipping of the food, like real Parmesan, doesn't change the terroir of the food. Real parm is still the product of it's specific environment, even if I eat it in Cleveland.
                                            As I have seen it described, terroir is about the effect the soil and climate has on a particular food.
                                            Those bagels are so good because of the water in that specific location.... but I can have those bagels shipped to me, and the terroir doesn't change. My location does not alter the environment in which the food was grown or otherwise produced.
                                            "Sense" of place is yet another thing that may or may not combine with the concept of terroir.... for instance, that can of stew was much better tasting in the mountains on that snowy day skiing......

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: wyogal

                                              That is one level of terrior and I agree that one is completely transportable (though you could argue that, in your example they won't taste the same since you won't be getting bagels that are literally fresh out of the oven/boiler etc, which you could if you were wherever those bagels were made.) But there is also an aspect that involves the location and situation you are in when you consume the food. Eating a dish at a little trattoria somewhere in italy will not be the same as eating that same dish at your home, even if you used all of the same ingredients from the same place and even flew in the same chef to make it. In fact, it won't be the same dish even if you went back to the same trattoria, ordered the same thing and (though some miracle)got every other person who was there the first time to do the same thing. It still would not be the same thing, because time will have passed and none of you will be the exactly same people, thinking the exact same thoughts at the exact same moment. That's the really depressing thing about that level of terroir, it means that in a certian sense, no matter what your experiances were, you will NEVER be able to ever replicate them. It also means that there are a lot of food experinaces you can NEVER experiance becuse to experiance them you would have to be a different person at a different time than you were.

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    and I guess that home isn't really the same on a certain level. The molecular change from the addition or subtraction of a mouse turd, or a piece of lint that wasn't there a moment ago, the hair from the cat and dog that just now fell off their bodies, the new sweat from my feet up on the couch, the coffee that was once in the cupboard that is now in my belly.... yep, not quite the same.

                                              1. I think this thread has given me a new reason to like preserved foods. That said, please carry on.

                                                EDIT: Just wondering, is "taste of place" a valid justification for twenty plus dollar eight ounce cans of tomatoes, or can I still punch the bum who tries to sell that to me? :p

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: shezmu

                                                  Depends on whether you felt those tomatoes were worth $20+. But odds are you're paying more the heirloom varietal than the soil/water (or perhaps ingenious marketing).

                                                  1. re: shezmu

                                                    If you're paying THAT much for canned tomatoes, then the terroirists have won.

                                                  2. Someone has already mentioned oysters, but here's an interesting fact about "terrior" and oysters. (Is it appropriate to call it terroir? should it be eau-roir?) :-)

                                                    All east coast oysters are the same species. It's the difference in the water that makes a wellfleet different from a blue point different from a nantuckett, or whatever other oyster.

                                                    There are a lot of other factors that will make one wellfleet somewhat different from another, but the fact that east coast oysters from one area are qualitatively different is absolutely indisputable.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: egit

                                                      Apalachicola oysters taste varies according to how much rain there has been upstream. Southern farm pond fish start tasting funky when the water gets hot in the summer time.

                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                        Your last sentence sounds like Hemmingway. Thanks.