Alberta Food Scientists Try To Pin Down Exactly What Influences The Taste Of Beef
by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, The Globe And Mail
Posted: 2017-10-25 15:44:33 EST

"Terroir" is the most important word in the wine world, the summing up of what gives each wine its distinctive flavour and qualities. Winemakers say everything that "feeds" a grape – from climate to soil quality to terrain and area-specific farming techniques – can be sensed, and tasted, in the final product.

As with wine, the flavour of a piece of beef doesn't just vary according to the breed of cattle or what part of the animal's body the cut came from, but also external factors such as diet and ranch management, not to mention how the final product is cooked. Lately, ranchers and butchers have been speaking about place and farming practice in almost romantic terms – ideas that sound awfully like terroir.

"I'm a beef lover and it was the best beef I've ever had in my life," recalls Bob Choquette of Calgary's Urban Butcher chain. He uses words such as "rich," "nutty" and "buttery" to describe the meat produced by his late friend and colleague Paul Froehler, his voice aching with nostalgia for both the meat and Froehler, who died last spring.

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