Ingredients do not universally taste the same worldwide, sometimes a tomato is not just a tomato
Best mangoes I’ve ever eaten? In Singapore, when they came from India during mango season (OMG)
I know they don’t look like much but these are the best mangoes in the world. No, they are not the atualfo mangoes that you see here in Canada (but they do look similar). I have never seen them for sale anywhere in North America. They are paler (much paler) than ataulfos with a more pronounced tip.
Best cherries? In Portugal, or Hong Kong, when they came in from China during cherry season.
Best donut peaches? In Spain when it was peach season.
BEST. PEACHES. EVER.
Best oranges? So far for me, it’s been Florida although I hear Morocco has amazing oranges, but I’ve never been there.
Best tomatoes? In a can from Italy, because the product is far superior than even fresh tomatoes here.
What’s the point I’m trying to make with the above recounts of the best fruits and vegetables?
WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM AND HOW IT IS GROWN AND KEPT, MATTERS.
I’m probably going to get pelted with rotten tomatoes (figuratively speaking) for this, but brie from Canada (namely Quebec), does not taste like briefrom France.
I’ve had both, on the same platter at once, and the one from France has so much more flavour, you just can’t compare the two. The one from Canada just tastes like fat. It’s still edible, but it isn’t the same.
Same with wines. Champagne. Fruits. Vegetables.
IT ISN’T THE SAME EVERYWHERE, SO STOP SAYING THAT IT IS.
Sure, they say they use the same techniques, it’s cheaper, and the same blabedda-bla-blas when making the brie, but here’s my problem with trying to sell me cheese:
- Canada doesn’t have the climate or the environment, let alone geographic placement
- Canada doesn’t have caves at the right sea level
- The milk used to make the cheese here, is not the same milk used in France
- Canada doesn’t have the right knowledge on how to properly store and keep cheese
Before you chuck that rotten tomato, I’ll go into detail about each point.
Note: All of the following doesn’t just apply to France versus Canada by the way, and not just in regards to cheese. It’s for everything you eat.
ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
They’re geographically located in different parts of the world. A Canadian winter, is not a French winter.
The soil is not the same. The way the sun hits the country is not the same. The landscape is not the same.
All of this matters when it comes to growing ingredients.
It can be even the fact that growing oranges in Florida, makes them sweeter and juicier than growing oranges somewhere more up north and colder.
It simply doesn’t have the right environment for the fruits to grow at their best.
I don’t think I’ll ever taste a mango that is as good as the ones I had imported from India in Singapore or tomatoes as good as in places where they get a LOT of sun.
That’s just the simple fact. I’d love to have Indian mangoes in Canada, but our mangoes usually come from South America, which isn’t the same thing.
CAVES FOR CHEESE
Ever hear of those caves where they let the cheese ferment?
Yeah, French has them. Canada doesn’t.
How are you going to argue with this?
The cave is a naturally created spot by nature, where the temperature is perfect, the humidity is optimal, and there is no light sneaking into the cave to destroy the delicious bacteria growing on the cheese.
Sure, Canada could create some artificial caves to replicate all of the above, but until that happens, the brie here will never taste as good as in France.
THE MILK (AND INGREDIENTS) ARE NOT THE SAME
Canadian milk sold in grocery stores (even the homogenized, whole milk) tastes like cloudy water. I’m being kind in that assessment (even with the organic milk I buy, I do not taste the same thing).
If the ingredients are not the same (milk), the cheese will not be the same. Period.
It’s like saying that a can of slimy Chef Boyardee pasta tastes just as good as pasta that is cooked on-the-spot fresh (homemade or not, fresh or dried).
We also have different laws in Canada versus France in regards to milk production such as whether or not hormones are used, how much milk per cow is allowed, where the cows live, how they are allowed to roam around, and so on and so forth.
The best milk I’ve ever tasted usually comes from Europe, although not all of it is from Europe.
France, it’s Le President (but they don’t make milk any more I think).
Portugal, it’s Mimosa.
Switzerland and Germany aren’t too bad either.
England, is by the far the worst. Just as bad as Canadian milk in my opinion. The U.S. has slightly better milk but not enough to make me want to down a liter when I visit.
(When I visit Europe, and find a brand of milk I love, I actually open their 1L boxed milk like a juice carton, stick a straw in it, and finish the whole thing in a day.)
THE KNOWLEDGE ON PROPER PRESERVATION IS MISSING
The only place outside of France where I’ve seen cheese properly kept was in England at a Whole Foods.
They had a CHEESE ROOM.
It’s a walk-in refrigerator, set to the perfect temperature to replicate the optimal conditions to preserve the delicate flavour of cheese.
Too cold, and the cheese loses its love.
Too hot, and it goes bad and moldy.
Too humid and it goes bad.
It’s like a temperamental Baby Bear who needs her porridge just right.
Interestingly enough, they also have cheese fridges but not an entire room JUST for cheese in Toronto as well at some Loblaws locations (College Street and Yonge, and the one on Queen Street and Bathurst has it as well).
The same goes for wine, which is also usually kept in a dark cave of sorts for optimal preservation.
Good wines, should be stored on their side, not upright so you can see their label.
Why do you think all the fancy wine caves have slots where the wine is on their side? There’s a reason for it!
The main reason is that you need to keep the cork wet, so that it stays fully expanded and doesn’t allow any oxygen or air to creep in, and to oxidize and ruin the wine.
We were in France, buying a very nice bottle of wine for 100 EUR for a celebration.
We opened it, BF tasted it, and proclaimed it to be a waste because it tasted like vinegar and wasn’t properly kept. The cork was dry, it had crumbled a bit into the wine, and the oxygen had seeped in, ruining the taste completely.
We went back to return it (you can do that in France), and tell them it tasted like crap; they apologized and we picked another wine instead.
So when I see perfectly delicious cheese here in Canada either flown in from France or not, it’s a damn shame to see that they aren’t properly kept, because it just loses all of its flavour and delicate nature.
These are all things that we can pick out as easy mistakes for stores who don’t really know the product, or have taken even the slightest interest in figuring out what is the best way to keep and sell their goods.
France has a reputation for having the best food and ingredients in the world for their cuisine, and they absolutely deserve it. They fall short on many things, but food excellence and preparation is not one of them.