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  • Emily

D.O.P. / P.O.D. -- Protecting Quality, Taste, & Technique

In 1992, the European Union & the United Kingdom created the Protected Designation of Origin (D.O.P. / P.O.D / A.O.C.) depending on the language) for certain products produced in a geographic region. This designation legally protects these products against counterfeiting. It also insures a level of quality and adherence to traditional methods and ingredients. For example, the bubbly beverage, Champagne, needed to protect its reputation and its product from imitation and poorly produced imposters. In 1935, Champagne became an A.O.C. product (appellation d’origine contrôlée). Only products produced in Champagne, France, utilizing traditional methods & local ingredients, can legally be called "Champagne." Some other recognizable protected products include Procuitto de Parma, Manchego, San Marzano tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano & Tequila.

Protected products are developed using both the local culture, skills, & expertise and the terroir of the region, a French term to describe the land & environmental features that affect a crop, thereby affecting the quality, taste, and appearance of the products from that region. For example, certain designated cheeses, like Roquefort, are developed from the milk of certain cows in that region that graze on the local grasses, giving it a distinctive flavor and feel.

Recognizing protected, designated products is also a means to preparing foods authentic to the region, utilizing traditional methods, Most EU countries have their own seals and acronyms for protected designations of origin. For example, D.O.P. in Italian stands for "Denominazione di Origine Protetta" , essentially literally "Protected Designation of Origin."

The 70 North Market carries several D.O.P products, & they are usually marked as such. Our manchego & proscuitto are D.O.P, as well as some olive oils. At a recent Tasting Thursday, we sampled the mirabelle (golden plum) jam by Bonne Maman. Golden plums and their seeds are D.O.P; they cannot be exported or grown elsewhere.

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