Is educating people to drink better elitist?
At the Flavour Extraction symposium I blogged on earlier, one of the points I raised was that the role of the communicator in making 'real' food and drink accessible to people is critical. Most people don't eat and drink well. Certainly, when it comes to wine, most people drink inexpensive branded wines. And even when they trade up, they usually buy uninteresting commercial wines when for the same price they could get something much more interesting.
Communicators are needed to tell people about the world of flavour. Someone needs to get the message out, making high-end food and drink products of real interest accessible to people who aren't going to find them in their supermarket shop.
But then I checked myself. Was I being elitist, thinking that people need to be educated about wine (and food) when they are perfectly happy with what they already have? [Even if what they already have is crap.]
Randolph Hodgson of Neal's Yard made a great point, though. In fact, it's elitist to think that people shouldn't be told about great, authentic food and wine. We're deciding that most people aren't ready for, or aren't able to appreciate, real flavours. There's something wrong about this attitude, but unfortunately many of the gatekeepers (the editors of consumer publications) feel this way.