When talking about products that traditionally come from Italy, which we are in the habit of doing, the term DOP is bandied around a lot, and we know you might be wondering what exactly this means. It has become synonymous with a highly sought after status which belongs to certain varieties of food and drink, and it is a label that is not easy to come by and definitely makes a product stand out!
The term literally means Denominazione d'Origine Protetta, or Protected Designation of Origin, which is why in the UK it is sometimes written as PDO. In reality, this means that there is a guarantee that the product that you’re buying is authentic and is produced in a specific region or geographical zone following the rules of production laid out by years of tradition. In some ways a DOP status is the food world’s equivalent of copyrighting, it stops other people and companies from purporting to sell the exact same product. But it is also more than this, it is a way of recognising the heritage of certain food produce and of celebrating the history of their production process.
Why should I buy DOP products?
Rituals that have been honed, sometimes over the course of centuries, are what make DOP products the goods that we enjoy today and this sets them just a cut above many lookalike products that have appeared in the global marketplace. And whilst the DOP label may come with a premium price tag, we truly believe that you get what you pay for and we would encourage you to purchase DOP accredited goods where possible!
Which products have DOP status?
A few of the most famous examples of Italian DOP products are:
- Prosecco - sparkling white wine
- Parmigiano Reggiano - strong, hard cheese
- Prosciutto di Parma (Parma Ham) - dry cured ham
- Prosciutto Toscano - cured ham from Tuscany
- Mozzarella di Bufala - mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk
- Olive Oil - DOP olive oil has many variants but all are made with olives grown in Italian regions
- Balsamic Vinegar - produced in Modena, Emilia-Romagna
- San Marzano Tomatoes - grown in specific areas of Campania and bought in tins
Be sure to look out for DOP labels when you go to buy these products.
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