Do you know why Parmesan cheese is called this? No, it isn't just a given name. It started to be produced in an Italian region called Parma, which gave its name to the cheese. And now, Italians are asking Americans to know that if they buy cheese under this name in the US, they need to look for the DOP logo that should be on it. Otherwise, well, it simply isn't Parmesan cheese. Here is what you should know on the subject.
Italian Food is made with Products of Origin
Anywhere you go in the world, you will find Italian restaurants. In fact, it is probably the greatest number that you will find in many large cities. That is because Italy is famous for its cuisine and the way they cook it, using products like the ones you can find online at Dolceterra Italian kitchenware, a retailer of premium Italian kitchen utensils. Who doesn't cook spaghetti at home with a nice Bolognese sauce? If you do, you should know that this name also stands for another Italian city, called Bologna.
When Italians open restaurants abroad, they make sure that they buy products coming directly from Italy, and not brands that falsely use their name, inside the country where they now reside. Now, Italy is on the warpath, to make sure that its products are protected, and not copied by others around the world while using their names of origin.
There are, indeed, regulations on products, around the world. Food is not different than clothes. If you place a Versace logo on a bag that you have created in America, this is counterfeited merchandise. It is the same with food. If you sell Parmesan cheese that is not from either the Parma or Reggio Emilia regions in Italy, then you are counterfeiting a cheese. It is illegal, and the company could be sued for it. One of the issues with such products is that they often have nothing in common with the original one, which misleads people into thinking that they are eating a given food when they are not.
What is DOP?
In Italian, DOP means "Denominazione di Origine Protetta". It can be translated into Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). This way of describing certain products was created in Europe, in the mid-1900s, in order to identify the reliability, traceability, and authenticity of products. There are two goals here.
The first is to make sure that producers inside the country are really offering a product as it should be, and the second is to make sure that other countries don't pretend to produce such national products. It is there to make sure that only quality Italian kitchen items wear the name of Italian products, and the same goes in other European countries, as well.
This process is taken very seriously in Italy. The guidelines are strict and need to be respected to the letter. When it comes to Parmesan, we need to understand that this tradition of creating cheese in such a way, dates all the way back to the 12th century. Therefore, it is crucial that laws are built to protect the way it is produced, even though in many cases it has been modernized to a certain extent.