Soil Tasting Notes

I posted a while back on the bewitching properties of Geosmin and Petrichor, two words related to the smell of soil that sound terrific. Unfortunately it now transpires that some people have decided that soil may also taste terrific... Here's some tasting notes for soil from a very strange woman:

Soil from California’s Navarro River flood plain, is described as “a bit less exotic in aroma, but more varietal, with olive and mineral notes, and a bit weightier finish. The nose here is clay and smoky with huge extract and extraordinary elegance.”

Meanwhile, nearly 300 miles south, earth from the San Joaquin Valley has a “subtle yet complex nose, grassy and vegetative,” while its “underlying presence of cream opens up to hints of citrus and spice.”

A soil’s unique characteristics, this lady suggests, can also be tasted in the food grown in or on it. In other words, if the earth on which your farm sits has “grassy,” “olive,” or “smoky” notes, those flavours will recur in the overpriced organic cheese you produce. Smelling the soil first "helps you become aware of the continuity"....or maybe just singles you out as a wally. This is the sort of thing that the somewhat pretentious French can be seen championing with their concept of Terroir, although as mentioned in the piece that I took this from, the whole concept is almost certainly driven by suggestion than by any genuine tastebud sensitivity. Although I will agree that a Minervois certainly has a mineral flavour which must in part be attributed to the soil it is grown in. This doesn't mean I actually need to taste the soil first however.


Gaw said...

Nuts. The don't half make a palaver about this sort of thing don't they? I've eaten in some 'fine dining' American restaurants and the menus (and waiters) can be so full of shit it's off-putting. They also always seem to bugger things about. Good ingredients are rarely sufficient.

After one particularly elaborate and pretentious meal a friend of mine said he couldn't face dessert so could he just have an apple? The waiter didn't know how to respond. He went to the kitchen and the answer came back: 'no'.

Susan said...

Curious to know if anyone has ever thought of scratch 'n' sniff food and wine labels (and/or menus)?!

worm said...

Im sure they have susan! Im not sure how realistic the smells would be though! Although I suppose an interesting thing would be to have a wine club for 'beginners' where you supply a monthly bottle of wine, describe it's predominant aromas - blackcurrant, mint, chocolate, snow, sponge etc - and then supply a scratch card of these individual scents, so learners can learn to identify and single out these characteristics from a wine they are tasting..