What is an "Artisan"?
"Artisan" or "Artisanal" are notions that usually describe various things (including food) that are not produced by industrialized processes and methods, but rather by hand or using hand tools and small machines and often on a small scale, at home or in a small workshop (synonymous with "Craft").
Artisan products are often made using techniques passed down through the generations, sometimes in danger of being forgotten and lost today.
People who make these products, using such methods, are called "Artisans" or "Craftsmen", and the result of their work is also described as 'handmade' or 'homemade'.
There are many types of artisanal products, but here we are mainly interested in culinary artisan food products, among which, in addition to those that use traditional methods better known for canning fruit, pickles or preserving meat/sausages, or roasting coffee beans (possibly also grinding), there are also the following:
- Homemade bread and other bakery products that are made with old baking techniques, using equipment and sometimes traditional ingredients;
- Pizza prepared using old-fashioned methods, such as outdoor wood ovens;
- Artisan Pasta that is homemade of simple, fresh dough, only with water, salt, sometimes eggs (which can even be organic) and especially traditional flours, some of which may be ground by hand, and then kneaded by hand or in very small food-machines, and finally cut and dried naturally, for a few days, in the air.
We also showcase a special collection of artisanal pasta on this website.
You can read about the differences between artisan and industrial pasta HERE;
- The cheese, made by hand with methods that have gone through generations of producers, using maybe hundreds of years old recipes.
- Sweets, chutneys, and fruit preserves that are produced using very traditional methods of preserving fresh fruits and vegetables;
- Pickles, which are just another old-fashioned approach to food preservation for fruits and vegetables;
- Salted/smoked meat that is prepared organically and sustainably using traditional drying, hardening, smoking, and/or flavoring techniques;
- Oils and various types of vinegar handmade by pressing and/or distilling from traditionally grown produce;
- Coffee beans and granules which are roasted by hand and traditionally prepared in very small batches;
- Beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic recipes, such as for wine or beer, using artisanal ingredients and production techniques inherited from ancient times, in small batches;
- Handmade ice cream homemade in a wide variety of flavors;
People involved in the production of artisanal food are called "culinary artisans" or "craftsmen" in profile (i.e. bakers, confectioners, etc...) For example, brewers (or beer masters) can just as well be called "beer artisans", although it is not a commonly used term.
Culinary Artisans work with carefully selected ingredients that they understand, know how they were made or harvested, where they come from, and what is particularly good about them, and strive to make their artisanal products taste very good and be superior in all respects to similar, but industrially produced goods. They have already mastered their particular craft (or are looking to improve it all the time through experience), using their historical, intuitive and scientific knowledge to make the process they are involved in, successful. They also try to keep to a minimum the ecological impact of their production on the environment.
You can read more about Artisanal Food on Wikipedia
Whoaaaa, these look gorgeous...