Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's in a name?

Growing up...

... this was what I considered  to be Parmesan cheese.  It was always in our kitchen, it was what we put on spaghetti, my mother's macaroni casserole.  Garlic bread back then didn't have cheese on it, so we didn't use it there.  Really nothing more than a cardboard tube with a yellow lid full of a yummy product somewhat reminiscent of sawdust.  I can't honestly recall the last time I ever used it.

Photo: Zerohund


... this is what I expect my 'Parmesan' cheese to look like.  Grated at the table over a mind-blowing variety of pastas and cheeses we never dreamed of when we were kids;  Asiago d'allevo, Crotonese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino di Romagna, to name a few.

 A Rose by any other name...

As part of trade talks, the European Union wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheese made in the United States.  The Europeans say Parmesan should only come from Parma, Italy, not those familiar green cylinders that American companies sell. Feta should only be from Greece, even though feta isn't a place. MSN Money

What do you think? Should Kraft be able to manufacture and sell "Parmesan" cheese in the United States?  Should "Feta" be restricted solely to cheeses made in Greece? 

Wine has its Terroir, where geography, geology, and climate have a distinct influence on the taste and outcome of the final product. A Burgundy made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in Burgandy tastes differently than a Burgundy made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in California (or so I'm told... I can't really tell the difference with wine, but I can make a pretty good guess when it comes to Scotch).  Should cheeses and other products have a PDO or Protected Designation of Origin?  Does it matter if you make Parmesan cheese in Parma vs. Utica?

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