The Beginning of Name Protection
The 15th century, as people were awaking from the slump of the Middle Ages, was a time when cheese production caught on & its rich history commenced. It all starts with Roquefort, a cheese that can be traced to the first century where Pliny the Elder (23 AD – 79 AD) mentioned the beloved blue.
Countries take the production of specific cheeses very seriously as they are seen as a reflection of integrity to their homeland. These regulations govern not only the cheesemaking process (ingredients, methods, aging) but also dictate specific animal breeds, grazing areas, milk source, cheese composition including fat content, physical characteristics & specific attributes. The following are the most common designations:
AOC: Appellation d'origine contrôlée, French & Swiss
DOP: Denominazione di origine protetta, Italy
DOC: Denominazione di Origine Controllata, Italy
DO: Denominación de Origen, Spain
PDO: Protected Designation of Origin, British/Europe
AOP: Nomenclature of Protected Origin, Europe. As AOC, for example, is governed on the national French level, the appearance of AOP is its equal on a European level. Over the next few years, AOP will be the dominate label to look for to locate name-protected cheeses across Europe.
*It is important to note that cheese is not the only item that carries name-protection but also extends to wine & food, for example, Champagne & Puy lentils.