Earlier this month, I was invited to attend a walk-around tasting of Italian food products by the Italian Trade Commission. The goal was to introduce us to the AICIG (Italian Association of Geographical Indication), an organization that works to protect and preserve the designation of authenticity of Italian food products, as well as to let us actually sample those products, thus giving us a deeper appreciation for the quality and tradition behind these edibles. This organization represents the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) sectors at the national, European Union, and international levels, helping them to promote their products and to raise awareness of these food certifications.
Food certification and guarantees of authenticity in production are an area taken much more seriously in the European Community than in other areas of the world. The process to receive one of these designations is time-consuming and expensive, but the rewards of doing it and the recognition of these products at that level can be financially very important. It isn’t just about the labeling rights, however, as these designations are also a matter of preserving Italian culinary and cultural traditions, ones that have hundreds of years of history behind them, something that the Italian government and their local authorities work very hard to maintain.
Among the products that we had the opportunity to taste were cheeses, prosciutto, vinegar, and olive oil. Our host location, Osteria del Principe also served us several delicious dishes, including a deliciously creamy Risotto ai Funghi, that showcased Italian cuisine. These foods reinforce the passion and commitment that the trade commission and its members have for items that they feel deserve to carry the “Made In Italy” stamp. They have indicated that over the next year, they will be having more such events, including one just for Italian wines, to introduce us further to the quality and care with which Italian products are made.
Thank you so much to the folks at PadillaCRT for inviting me to take part in this event. For additional information about the Italian Trade Commission, please visit their website. For additional information about the AICIG, please visit their website.