Learning about Italian heritage
Isn’t Italian food just the best?! Well it can be made even better when you use authentic Italian produce in your dishes. Italy has over 300 agri-food products and 500 wines recognised as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the European Union. What does this mean though?
Well, PDO and PGI protect products from misuse and imitation so customers know they are from Italy. PDO (in Italian DOP) recognises agricultural products and foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area. PGI (in Italian IGP) is awarded to agricultural products and foodstuffs closely linked to the geographical area where at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the area.
True Italian Taste
By using products with PDO / PGI certifications you get an experience of the True Italian Taste! Many of these products originate from small Italian producers.
During a cooking class at Eataly hosted by The Italian Chamber of Commerce for the UK, we learnt how to recognise authentic Italian produce. The best part was that we were also able to cook and taste it!
We started off with a selection of aperitivo including:
- Focaccia made from fresh yeast organic flour from a family in Piedmont
- 20 month aged Parma Ham (PDO) from Emilia Romano
- Parmigiano Reggiano aged between 24 and 120 months (did you know Italy have a consortium that regulates the production of Parmigiano Reggiano!)
The first course was a Zuppa di Melone (cold melon soup) with red prawns which was made with a PGI melon. It was easily the best melon I have ever tasted!
My favourite course to cook was the Paccheri al sugo di pomodoro e stracciatella. It was such a simple dish to cook but was enhanced by the high quality authentic Italian produce. We cooked Afeltra paccheri pasta with Cosi Com’e pomodoro tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil and topped it with fresh stracciatella. It was seriously tasty!
Read Food Labels
When you are shopping, have a look for PDO / PGI logos to recognise if the products are Italian. Some of these products are available in mainstream supermarkets but many more in specific Italian supermarkets and delis.
East London Girl: Authentic Italian Produce
Disclaimer: This was a paid partnership to support the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the UK. All views are my own.