Berlin, Germany (Gastrosofie). This cheese is a true quick-change artist. Now it looks like a pear and then it could look like salami. Or should it rather be a melon? To various forms come all conceivable sizes and weight classes. If you prefer, you can haul a colossus of a 100 kilos back home. The mass of the Provolone Valpadana, whose quality is guaranteed by the DOP label, is a very malleable part of any meal, explains Libero Giovanni Stradiotti of the Consorzio Tutela Provolone Valpadana DOP. In the new Alma Mia restaurant, he and other colleagues presented six DOP and top Italian products together with their quality seals on a tour that took them from Milan via Madrid and London to now Berlin.
High-quality mozzarella, the second cheese for us to taste, was awarded with the STG seal. Then, special olive oil from Tuscany protected by the IGP seal. The Prosecco Superiore from the hills of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region, the dessert wine Asti Dolce and another fine wine, “Nobile di Montepulciano”, all three awarded the DOCG seal. The project “Enjoy European Quality Food” promotes these six Italian specialties with protected designation of origin in order to raise awareness of certified quality and traceability. The quality campaign now taking off in Germany runs for three years and is co-financed by the EU. The goal: to read labels more consciously and to purchase not because of the price, but regarding the quality of the product.
Especially with olive oil, the consumer is often baffled by the variety of the offer. Thanks to the IGP seal, he can play it safe as regards to the “Olio Extravergine d’Oliva Toscano”. The entire production – from the plant to the packaging – is supervised and done without any exception in Tuscany. Olive oil is also subjected to rigorous chemical, organoleptic and sensory tests. Thus, the consumer receives a guaranteed high quality product with the aroma of almonds, artichokes and ripe fruits. Slight differences in taste are of course possible, as each area of Tuscany is unique due to its nature and habitat.
The same applies to the seal of approval for Provolone. A product is only certified as DOP if the production, transformation and processing take place in a specific geographic area. In addition, manufacturers must comply with strict rules, compliance with which is ensured by an independent inspection body. For instance Provolone Valdapana DOP, which originated at the end of the 19th century in the Po Valley and was introduced by farmers from the south of Italy, is now produced in the region of Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and in the province of Trento.
Then Michael Balbiano served some small dishes that contained ingredients mentioned above. Thus, the olive oil makes the hand-cut beef tartare to taste a special treat. The oysters and nutmeg risotto had been refined with Prosecco Supriore DOCG. And the tart on a pumpkin cream in addition to potatoes comes with proof with Provolone, as you can tell immediately. This cheese is not only capable of transformation, but also very vigorous, as far as the aroma is concerned. Enjoy the quality, its Italian!
Christopher Prescott based on a text by Fritz H. Köser.