DUBAI FEB 9th – On the occasion of Gulfood AFIDOP, the association of Italian protected designation of origin cheeses, together with ITA Italian Trade Commission introduced 6 Italian PDO cheeses: Pecorino Romano, Pecorino Toscano, Mozzarella di bufala, Grana Padano, Gorgonzola and Asiago. A cheese tasting and a cooking show followed the conference.
“The aim of this event is to promote the high quality of the Italian PDO cheeses, their uniqueness, high standards and to highlight the production techniques”, says Luca Cracco, Director at Asiago Cheese PDO Consortium “Italian PDO cheeses are deeply rooted in history and in the everyday life of our country. Their fame is strictly linked to the land in which they are born and we owe it to the hard work of our ancestors, who knew a unique and inimitable way to transform milk and how to maintain such a tradition. It is also thanks to them that today these cheeses triumph on the tables of restaurants and in families all over the world”.
“In 2013 the designation of origin marks (PDO, PGI and TSG) represented a volume of 1,3 million tons and a turnover of 2,5 billion euros, 32% of which is exported. Italy remains a world leader in the sector for number of certified products, with a total of 261 products registered in the EU register” states Mr Cracco.
The acronym P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) is affixed to the most important traditional Italian cheeses. This label refers to the region and production area of a specific cheese, whose characteristics are strictly related to a geographic area, the only place where it can be produced.
All P.D.O. products are subject to a set of traditional codified rules within the framework of a detailed production procedure provided by the European Commission.
This procedure establishes the product’s characteristics, ranging from production techniques to labeling and marketing rules. Products must undergo a complex validation process to obtain the P.D.O. registration. Only the products that manage to get through this process will be authorized to use the P.D.O. label and the European logo (yellow sun in a red field) through which they can be identified.
In Italy there are 43 P.D.O. and 1 P.G.I. cheese and dairy products. Italy is thus the second world producer of P.D.O. cheese.
AFIDOP safeguards the typical aspect and the use of the products' names, promoting their popularity and protecting the production keeping a watchful eye on quality.
Practically all Italian regions, traditions and types of cheese are part of AFIDOP: from fresh to mature cheeses, from uncooked to semi-cooked or cooked and smooth textured ones, from cheeses made with cow's milk to those made with sheep's, buffalo's and goat's milk. From large-scale productions, producing more than a million quintals, to smaller scale ones that make less than a few hundred.
This is so vastly different and so widely represented that it can deliver a message to the world of a quality that is second to no one.