Protected Designation Origin (P.D.O.) accredited Italian cheese organization at Gulf Food 2016

AFIDOP showcased strength, heritage, quality and diversity of Italy’s leading cheeses for the fourth year amongst Gulf F&B suppliers, retailers and restaurants

Associazione Formaggi Italiani DOP e IGP (Association of Italian PDO Cheeses), better known as AFIDOP  exhibited in this year’s Gulf Food. With a space in the Italian pavilion section, the organization  presented live interactive cooking demonstrations and educational seminars showcasing four of Italy’s premium Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) status cheeses over the course of the exhibition.

AFIDOP encompasses 25 regional Italian accreditations, to create the main consortia dedicated to the protection of Italian P.D.O. cheeses. The group as a whole promotes and protects cheeses originating from different geographic regions made in a typical all natural process across Italy under E.U. law. Currently there are 49 P.D.O. cheeses produced in Italy.

With the UAE and wider GCC having become a culinary centre in the middle of the world, and a gateway to locations further east, it’s a meeting point for F&B suppliers, restaurants and retailers from across the world. Events such as Gulf Food have become essential to the procurement and success of the global hospitality business.

“As a result, with the growing appetite for the UAE’s F&B market share, an estimated AED 43 billion) $11.7 million industry*, it is essential for AFIDOP to not only have a presence at the exhibition but to also have some facetime with current and prospective clients,” said Nicola Cesare Baldrighi, Chairman of ADIFOP.

“Equally, with the rise of healthy eating trends and the desire to consume premium quality products, along with the region’s love of authentic Italian food, our cheeses, given their PDO status are perfect to meet those needs,” Baldrighi added.

Continuing, exports to the UAE from Italy have grown at a faster pace than other parts of the world and with the value of the UAE F&B Italian export market valued at over AED 1 Billion ($275 million), it is clear there is a demand.** What’s more, with an additional 1,600 F&B establishments expected to open by 2019, it is likely the demand for Italian products will further increase.***

Along with an increase in demand, export operations, as result, will need to run efficiently. Suppliers can work together rather than individually, to meet this need. By sharing the costs and work involved in the process for exporting goods, similar to AFIDOP’s model, this allows them to invest more in targeted promotional activities in the importing markets, like Gulf Food to educate the final consumer directly.

This year, AFIDOP  highlighted four well-regarded Italian PDO cheeses: Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and Pecorino Romano with background material on each complemented by tastings at the stand. Material on all of the 49 P.D.O. cheeses will also be available. An added feature this year, a dedicated area for educational seminars and live interactive cooking demonstrations using the four selected cheeses also gave AFIDOP the ability to interact with prospective buyers.

Highlighting real time use of the cheeses, Chef Alessandro Cargiolli, Executive Chef at Nais Italian Kitchen in JLT, Dubai  collaborated with AFIDOP by holding two separate cooking demonstrations on February 22nd and February 23rd.

Four recipes each highlighting one of the selected aforementioned P.D.O. cheeses were prepared in front of a live audience. Chef Alessandro talked to guests through the preparation and cooking process whilst also offering his tips on working with the four cheeses. A taste of each dish was presented upon completion.

“The exchange of the latest food trends, innovations, tastes, cooking and preparation methods are essential business practices for our industry. Being in the food industry, experience and knowledge are key and events like Gulf Food, not only allow us to be in direct contact with our customers in an important market, but also allows us to continually learn and evolve. We felt the addition of interactive cooking demonstrations with a local chef further showcases our commitment to and appreciate for the region,’ concluded Baldrighi.

The 2016 edition of Gulf Food took place at Dubai World Trade Centre from February 21 – 25, 2016. AFIDOP was at stand S1-320; Sheikh Saeed Hall 1.

About AFIDOP – Associazione Formaggi Italiani DOP e IGP (Association of Italian PDO Cheeses)

AFIDOP brings together the main consortia for the protection of Italian P.D.O. cheeses. The majority of these associations were established at different times. Some were born almost eighty years ago to protect the basic characteristics of these precious products, which are closely linked to their territory of origin. The

Associations, which cover most of Italy safeguard the typical aspect and the use of the products’ names, promote their popularity and protect production, whilst keeping a watchful eye on quality to give them the

P.D.O. seal of approval. Currently there are 49 P.D.O. cheeses produced in Italy. Background information on P.D.O. cheeses at AFIDOP stand at Gulf 2016:


Taking its name from the village of Gorgonzola, just outside of Milan, it’s believed that this cheese has its origins dating back to 879 A.D making it one of the world’s oldest blue-veined cheeses.

The marbled cheese is a white to straw colour and is produced exclusively from whole cow’s milk pasteurised with the addition of milk enzymes and selected molds, which give Gorgonzola its characteristic green-blue veining. It has a typically sharp flavour and the maturing lasts at least 50 days for softer types, and more than 80 days for spicy Gorgonzola.

Grana Padano

Grana Padano is one of the world’s best-selling PDO cheeses. Tracing its history back almost 1,000 years to Northern Italy’s Po Valley, Grana Padano is one of the best-known examples of grainy cheeses revered for their crumbly texture and lengthy ageing process.

A young Grana Padano is aged for nine to 16 months and has a mild and delicate taste. Compared to the previous vintage profile, Grana Padano aged over 16 months is known for its grainer consistency and stronger taste. Finally the exclusive Grana Padano Riserva is aged for over 20 months and is famed for its rich and full flavour.

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is a fresh spun cheese made from the milk of domestic Italian water buffalos. The first historical traces of the cheese date back to the 12th century.

The word ‘mozzarella’ comes from ‘mozzare’ (to cut off), referring to the manual cutting of the spun cheese between the forefinger and thumb. The stringy-textured, semi-soft cheese is porcelain-white colour with a delicate and creamy taste. When cut, it produces a white watery fluid with the aroma of milk enzymes. Apart from its typical round shape it is also produced in small bite-sized balls and plaits while the smoked variety is known as affumicata. Production areas include the regions of Campania, Lazio, Puglia and Molise.

Pecorino Romano

The history of Pecorino Romano dates back around 2,000 years – as far back as 48A.D. Virgil, writing on the topic of nutrition, reveals that the daily consumption allocated to each soldier was 27 grams per day. Thanks to its nutritional properties and the ease with which it could be transported and conserved, Pecorino Romano’s popularity grew over the centuries.

Today the fragrant, full-bodied and slightly spicy tasting cheese is made in Lazio, Sardinia; and in the province of Grossetto. The maturation period is about five months for table Pecorino Romano and around eight months for the grated variety.

What is AFIDOP?

The Association of Italian Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) Cheeses (Associazione Formaggi Italiana DOP e IGP) aims to protect the basic characteristics of these heritage Italian P.D.O. cheeses. These include unique cheeses that are deeply rooted in history and are closely linked to their region of origin. The aim is to safeguard the cheeses as well as the use of their names, whilst promoting their popularity and ensuring the quality of the cheeses are maintained.

Currently, Italy is the number one country in Europe producing P.D.O. cheeses and out of 186 P.D.O. cheeses recorded in Europe, 49 have origins from Italy, making 26% of global P.D.O. cheeses Italian.

Four Italian P.D.O. Cheeses renowned throughout the world that will be highlighted at Gulf Food 2016 include: Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and Pecorino Romano.

How well do you know your cheese?

Gorgonzola – A marbled cheese with green-blue veining throughout.

• A Long Time Ago – This cheese dates back to the year 879 A.D and is named after the small village Gorgonzola just outside of Milan

• How to Recognise – Gorgonzola rounds are marked at the origin on both flat faces. Consumers may recognise the cheese when they buy it by the brand logo printed on the aluminum sheet wrapping the cheese, which is exclusively assigned to the producers authorised by the Consortium.

• Cave Inspiration – As with most green-blue veined cheeses, Gorgonzola was originally aged in caves and the blue veins of mold developed from spores naturally present in the cave. In today’s modern times, alternative methods aligned with the traditional practices are used for the ageing process.

• Low Carb Diet – Gorgonzola is often favoured for low carb diets. It is high in protein, containing 18 grams and low in carbs. It is also rich in calcium (66%) and phosphorus (40%). (Nutritional average values per 100grams)

Grana Padano – The best selling P.D.O. cheese in the world. Grana Padano is famous for its

unique flavour and crumbly texture due to its lengthy ageing process.

· Created by Monks – Grana Padano was created nearly 1,000 years ago by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey, near Milan. The monks created a recipe to make a cheese that could withstand the test of time using the surplus of milk.

• Name Etymology – The name comes from the Italian word ‘grana’ (grain), which refers to the distinctively grainy texture of the cheese. ‘Padano,’ refers to the area of production in the Po River Valley (Pianura Padana). Hence the name ‘Grana Padano’ brings the two together.

• Easy to Digest – Grana Padano is a concentration of milk nutrients. It takes 15 litres of milk to produce a kilo of this cheese. Due to its long ageing, it is highly digestible. Also, most of the macro-and micronutrients in milk, excluding lactose and whey proteins, are present in Grana Padano, making it lactose intolerant friendly.

• Rich in a High Level of Organic Protein – 50 grams of Grana Padano P.D.O. contains, on average, 16 grams of protein, which makes it naturally high in protein. This amount contains the nutrients of around 840 ml of milk.

• Mineral and Vitamin Rich – In 50 grams of Grana Padano, there are 600mg of calcium, 60% of an adult’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) requirement and around 50% for children.

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana – The stringy texture, soft fresh spun cheese with a delicate and creamy taste

• Italian Buffalo Business – Mozzarella D.O.P. is made from the milk of the domestic Italian water buffalo. 90% of all production is traditionally produced in the Campania region, where the name ‘Campana’ of the D.O.P. designation derived from. It is also produced south of Lazio and in the Puglia region.

• ‘The Pearl of the Table’ – Mozzarella D.O.P. was given this nickname due to the Mediterranean’s appreciation for its unique white porcelain colour. The name Mozzarella derives from the procedure called mozzare, which means ‘cutting by hand’ or separating the single pieces of the cheese from the spun cheese.

• Arab Tales – There has been much debate over the origins of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, as well as the settling of water buffalo in southern Italy. One theory is that Asian water buffalo were brought into Italy by Arabs coming from the Middle East and the Norman Kings spread the buffalo throughout Southern Italy. The most widely accepted date for historical traces of Mozzarella dates back to the 12th century.

• Loved by the World – Mozzarella is the most popular cheese in the world. The word ‘mozzarella’ is widely recognized across the globe because its name is considered by the International food legislation as a generic name.

• Nutritional Facts – Mozzarella di Bufala Campana has a limited lactose, salt and cholesterol content, thus making it easy to digest. Recent studies demonstrate that Mozzarella di Bufala Campana also has an extraordinary antioxidant action and a strong power against free radicals.

Pecorino Romano – A fragrant, full-bodied and slightly spicy tasting cheese

• Sheep Origins – This hard, salty Italian cheese is made out of sheep’s milk. The Italian word ‘pecora’ from which the name is derived from means ‘sheep.’

• War Efforts – Pecorino Romano dates back around 2,000 years – as far back as 48 A.D. Thanks to its nutritional properties and the ease with which it could be transported and conserved, it has been revealed that its was used to give soldiers energy. The daily consumption allocated to each solider was 27grams per day. Although the amount was rationed, it was believed that the said amount was able to sustain the soldiers.

• Pastures a Plenty – Today, Pecorino Romano is made in Lazio, Sardinia and in the province of Grossetto. These territories have ideal conditions, where the indigenous breeds of cows graze amongst unspoilt pastures that are rich in herbs giving the cheese its characteristically intense flavour.

• Best Served – Pecorino Romano should be conserved in the fridge and tied up with paper or a cotton cloth. Best served at room temperature, this cheese is a favourite with Italians for a picnic, or a treat.

• Lactose Free – In addition to providing a great source of protein, calcium and essential vitamins, Pecoino Romano is considered lactose free. In matured cheeses, lactose is transformed during the maturation stage, making this cheese lactose intolerant friendly.


One thought on “Protected Designation Origin (P.D.O.) accredited Italian cheese organization at Gulf Food 2016

  1. Pingback: Protected Designation Origin (P.D.O.) accredited Italian cheese organization at Gulf Food 2016 – Naina at Cooking

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