Ingredients that are rare or difficult to grow on one continent, and are therefore considered gourmet, may be common on another. A gourmet doesn't see food as a means to an end. For a gourmet, food is art. This food enthusiast likes edible luxury.
Gourmets enjoy the experience of eating, preparing or displaying food. Some even explore the history and anthropology of the food they eat. A gourmet takes time and care when preparing food and usually eats it slowly. Gourmets frequent places that offer additional information about the origin of a food, have top quality ingredients, prepare food from scratch and serve dishes in a luxurious way.
The person you called a gourmet years ago may be called a foodie today. Gourmet food is any dish that offers an exquisite flavor and is presented in a pleasant way. The key factor in determining if something falls into this category seems to be its rarity and quality, of which there are many different grades. Gourmet ingredients can mix herbs and spices in an interesting way or add flavor to foods that normally have no flavor.
A gourmet kitchen will have professional quality appliances and accessories, often conveniently arranged to facilitate food preparation. Gourmet foods are often found or made only in certain places, and their ingredients may be unusual, difficult to find in regular grocery stores, are only available in limited quantities, are rarely exported outside their place of origin, or are only available for short periods of the year. To be a true gourmet is to have an exquisite knowledge of food and cuisine and a desire for beauty on the plate. Gourmet meals are usually prepared in a creative way, offering consumers an artistic masterpiece that uses food as a medium instead of paint, clay or pencils.
A gourmet store usually stores the highest quality ingredients from all over the world, thanks to special contacts that help import foods that otherwise wouldn't be easily available in the area. With refrigeration and the expansion of commerce, it's easier than ever for people with a little bit of knowledge about preparing gourmet foods anytime, anywhere without having an expert nearby who can help when they need it. I would think that gourmet food is what is currently expensive and trendy, rather than a particular type of food. A gourmet chef has a very high level of ability to prepare food and make good use of the best ingredients.
In general, the term gourmet has less to do with food than with the person who is the subject of the word.
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