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This isn't a legally regulated term either, and so it gets used a lot because it sounds good — when people think of artisanal, they're probably thinking of a passionate baker, slaving away over some hot hearth in the wee hours of the morning, making the same, perfect baguette that he does every morning. Someone French, probably. Or a grape grower, patiently culling his grapes to make sure only the best ones make it into the barrel. The dictionary definition implies that something artisanal is made by hand. If you believe in that as a starting point, adding the "food perspective" probably involves making something by hand, slowly, in small batches, and with great care, resulting in a superior product. In the olden days, the original sense of the term would have implied becoming an apprentice, then a journeyman in a craft, finally culminating in some sort of "masterpiece" that would result in ones status as an "artisan." So is that $30 piece of cheese behind the display counter a masterpiece? Well really, the only way to find out if an "artisanal" product is worth its weight in gold is to taste it.

(Credit: Jane Bruce)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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