Recently, while perusing my monthly issue
of In Style magazine,
I noticed that fashions from the 1980s are hot in 2006. For
example, leggings and jeans with skinny pencil-cut legs that
you wear with high heels are so trendy these days! I fear
that soon big hair will be making a comeback. I tried wearing
leggings (for the uninitiated, leggings are footless tights)
recently. I paired them with a short denim skirt and stretchy
long sleeved tee. While this combo was cute when I was 24,
I felt like an idiot wearing it at 44.
Thinking about clothing fashion and trends
made me think about food fashion. What’s cool in the
food world these days and who’s buying specialty foods
like gourmet shortbread?
Anyone can tell you that specialty upscale
foods are a booming business. Just take a look at all the
“restaurant quality” soups next to the classic
Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom in the soup aisle of your
grocery store to see what I mean. Ever notice how the word
“artisan” is bandied about a lot lately in reference
to gourmet or premium food? I’ve seen artisan coffee
and tea, artisan bread, artisan cheese, and heck, even Wendy’s
is now advertising a sandwich served on “artisan”
bread! Sorry, Wendy’s but somehow the word artisan loses
its oomph for me when used to sell fast food.
Consumer culture is changing rapidly these
days. With the availability of fresh ingredients from all
over the world at the click of a computer button or in our
local super-sized grocery stores, people are becoming more
exposed to ingredients that were impossible to find even 10
or 15 years ago. People are demanding to know where their
food comes from and how it is grown or processed. The baby
boomers especially (the generation born between 1946-1964)
are willing to pay top dollar for high quality foods. I look
at myself and my friends (yes, we’re at the tail end
of the baby boomer generation). We won’t bat an eyelash
at spending $100 on a good bottle of wine, but we often drive
old compact cars with high mileage or shop at thrift stores.
That tells you where our priorities are. We baby boomers love
our good food and drink! The growth of the premium or artisan
food industry is the result of societal and cultural change.
So what exactly is artisan food? It’s
handcrafted. The craftsmanship, attention to small details,
and top-notch ingredients create a superior sensory experience.
Recently I thought I should develop a shortbread
wine biscuit. I learned at the 2006 Fancy Food show in New
York City that wine biscuits are chic in 2006. After some
lukewarm attempts at baking them, I realized it was silly
to fix something that wasn’t broken. Vermont Shortbread
Company has built its reputation and its amazing longevity
on fine dessert shortbread. So
the dessert market is where we’ll stay for now.
Last week at a networking meeting, I passed
around a newly invented brown sugar
and spice dessert shortbread fresh from the oven. Did
it evoke any fond food memories for my tasters with its spicy
aroma? Did they notice the beautiful presentation in a handcrafted
basket lined with Vermont Shortbread Company’s signature
green gingham napkin? Did my colleagues let each piece melt
on their tongues, noticing texture, taste sensations, and
how it felt in their mouths? You’d better believe it!
Vermont Shortbread Company doesn’t need to tell you
our product is artisan. Our shortbread speaks for itself.
Now that’s MY definition of artisan food. Your senses
know what feels and tastes good. Let them do the work. Don’t
be a slave to food or clothing fashion!
In this world of leggings, wine biscuits
and other food and clothing trends, Vermont Shortbread is
like a pearl necklace; timeless, classic, simple, elegant,
natural, always appreciated, and always in style. Our products
speak quietly for themselves: always in style, always chic.
Copyright 2006 Ann Zuccardy. All rights
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