Italy is famous for its incredible food and wine – and for good reason. But did you know that not all the products that look or sound Italian are actually crafted in Italy? Find out why and how to look for the real thing.
Who doesn’t love Italian food, right? The pasta, the olive oil, the cheese, the wine…. But are the products we buy when we’re grocery shopping really Italian? Not always. Not by a long shot.
Chances Are, You’re Being Mislead
Finding truly crafted-in-Italy products can be tricky, because so many food brands take advantage of Italy’s reputation for producing quality. How do they do this?
- Through clever packaging and marketing, they create product names that sound Italian
- They use generic product descriptors that sound similar to the real thing (think “parmesan” instead of “Parmigiano-Reggiano”)
- They label their products with images and colours that look Italian
- They use misleading terms, such as “packed in Italy,” to give the impression that a product is crafted there when it’s only packaged there
Watch our Made in Italy video to see this issue come to life. (Spoiler alert: it’s funny.)
What’s The Big Deal?
Buying a pretender product may be cheaper, but there is a cost to you. If you’re wondering why you can never get your pasta right, why a dish is turning out bland, or why the flavour of an ingredient doesn’t taste right, look closely at the labels of the products you’re buying.
A product that’s truly made in Italy should say so clearly on the packaging. It should state the region it’s crafted in. And, if it’s the best quality, it should have a DOP or IGP certification right on the label. DOP, which stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin), and IGP, which stands for Indicazione Geografica Protetta (Indication of Geographical Protection), are European Union designations that protect extraordinary products. For wines, the certifications are DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata or Controlled Designation of Origin) and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita or Controlled Designation of Origin Guaranteed).
Italian Ingredients are Extraordinary for Good Reason
When you buy truly crafted-in-Italy food products, you’re buying a part of Italy: the richness of the soil, air, and sun, the passion of Italian craft, and the quality demanded by its people. It’s no coincidence that Italy is the EU country with the most products registered as DOP and IGP. These are the things that give Italian food and wine their distinctive tastes. And while they’re often imitated, they can never be duplicated.
Check back to our “A Taste of Made in Italy” blog each week to learn more about authentic, crafted-in-Italy products – we’ll share new articles about Italian ingredients, chefs, cooking and recipes. Plus, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!