Accepted Paper:

Islands in the sun: introducing a Nordic island terroir  


Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch (Society of Swedish Literature in Finland)

Paper short abstract:

Food heritage and high quality food products have become an important way for branding and emphasizing local identity in marginal areas. In the case of creating food narratives for Nordic islands, themes such as smallness and uniqueness are used with great efficacy in order to create a “super-terroir”.

Paper long abstract:

Food is becoming increasingly important both as cultural heritage and as branding strategy for Nordic and Baltic islands. Here, the rhetoric of the New Nordic Cuisine movement is combined with traditional images of the North as well as with stereotypes regarding islands. The concept of terroir, traditionally associated with French wine production, is frequently evoked in order to emphasize the quality and uniqueness of Nordic food products. In the case of creating food narratives for the Nordic and Baltic islands the trope of "nature" is joined with island "themes" such as smallness, remoteness and traditionality. What emerges is a not only a powerful terroir story but a narrative of a super-terroir. These narratives are employed by various authorities, entrepreneurs as well as private enthusiasts, although in somewhat different ways. This paper, drawing upon a joint research project regarding Nordic Island Food, will discuss the narratives of terroir in a series of case-studies from the islands of Lilleø (Denmark), Muhu island (Estonia) and the Åland Islands (Finland) among others.

Panel P13
Food styles: circulating creative stories of local food culture