Updated: Aug 22
Terroir - the combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that gives wine grapes their distinctive character
Terroir is a French term derived from the Latin word terra meaning earth and is used to describe the environmental factors that affect the traits, characteristics and habits of an agricultural product. The word is often used when describing wine referring to the unique characteristics of a region and the effect they have on the complexity of the wine. Vintners and wine connoisseurs value terroir and appreciate the subtle distinctions in flavor and sense of place that a wine's terroir adds. The rest of us know that certain wines from certain regions are unique but seldom think about the effects of the environment on the wine we drink. Climate, soil composition, and topography all contribute to a wine’s unique personality.
Just like wine has terroir with grapes producing wine differing in flavor depending on where they’re grown, grain also tastes different depending on where it is sown. UNESCO describes terroir with a collective meaning describing it as a responsible alliance of man and his territory encompassed by know-how: production, culture, landscape and heritage.
Pastificio Felicetti’s Matt hard durum wheat is a terroir driven grain. Rich and resilient it is a product of its environment, at its best when farmed in the sunny fields of Apulia in southern Italy producing a pasta with the perfect balance of gluten and protein. It has a natural yellow color reminiscent of a sunny meadow, when cooked it has an aroma of freshly baked bread. Matt’s full potential is reached in the Italian Dolomites. Clear mountain water and the pure air complete the process perfected by the pasta makers at Pastificio Felicetti who has been producing pasta in the upper Val di Fiemme for four generations.
Descriptions of terroir may vary. Ours is a broader more inclusive way of looking at the environmental factors that influence the character of the agricultural products that are brought to our tables. If we consider sustainably conscious companies like Pastificio Felicetti who draw on their heritage and the unique characteristics of the land to create a nutritional culture promoting health and well-being we can see how special Matt grain production is. Our choice is clear and important. Achieving a healthy and sustainable food future is a matter that depends on both the land (terroir) and a commitment to preserve and protect the authenticity and heritage of agriculture and regional food and it may just begin with something as simple as where you buy your pasta.