The ‘Climats’ of Burgundy
A beautiful summer’s evening in Burgundy, and for some reason we’re watching re-runs on the BBC of this fellow in the north of England trying to convince us that chips and pies constitute regional cuisine. This particular episode is about Lancashire, its potatoes, and how they all end up in Blackpool fish and chips shops. What holds me spellbound is the proposition that this confluence of place and produce gives Blackpool chips terroir. Terroir: he says it so many times in the half hour program that I swear I will never use the term again.
You see, I am guilty of the same abuse. I’m sure that, over the years, I have said or written the word at least as many times as the man from Lancashire did this evening. In my case, however, I was trying to explain the wines of Burgundy… which only makes things more complicated.
Without retracing all those dead-end attempts to explain terroir, let’s just say that anyone who’s into food and wine has a gut idea of what it means, like the notion of eidos to a young philosophy student. But no one seems able to define it. Me, I’d go so far as to say that the ‘post-modern’ usage is undefinable… it means what it means when you use it and somebody else nods agreement.
So goodbye mister fish and chips, and thanks. Who would ever have thought that deep-fried potatoes could be such a cathartic?
So now what? Now how do we explain Burgundy?
Les ‘Climats’ du Vignobles de Bourgogne… there is an excellent English version.
Support the candidature of the Burgundy vineyards to the UNESCO World Heritage list!
All the best from Burgundy!