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The proposal for the enhancement of italian cheeses in restaurants

Italy boasts an exceptionally rich dairy tradition, with about 500 varieties of products ranging from North to South, many of which are recognized with DOP or IGP labels. A culinary heritage comparable only to the French one.

However, within their menus, Italian restaurants confine cheeses to a secondary role, devaluing the quality that characterizes the Made in Italy dairy heritage.

On the other hand, in France, cheeses are considered as alternatives to main courses, both in restaurants and at home, due to their protein intake which is comparable to other foods such as meat, fish and eggs.

To address this situation and align with the French model, the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, has proposed to include at least one cheese-based dish in the menu of every Italian restaurant.

This initiative aims to enhance Italian cheeses as key products for national cuisine and the economy itself, thus increasing the value of milk and strengthening the supply chain.

A significant step in this direction was already taken last September with the signing of a protocol agreement between the Association of Italian DOP and IGP Cheeses and the Italian Federation of Public Establishments. This first agreement aimed to give value to certified productions within restaurants while combating the widespread phenomenon of Italian Sounding, which, according to the latest Ismea-Masaf report, steals about 90 billion euros from Italian production.

 

Minister Lollobrigida's proposal has reignited the debate on the use of the cheese cart in restaurants, a practice that has not been popular for years, considered as one of the main tools to boost the sector.

The dedicated cheese corner is a sort of display corner that allows customers to taste an accurate and varied selection of dairy products, under the guidance of an expert.

If used in the right way, the cheese cart becomes a sensory experience, a kind of culinary and cultural ritual to enrich one's knowledge and educate the palate.

For all these reasons, many chefs and restaurateurs are adopting the cheese cart to expand their gastronomic offer, requalifying excellent cheeses and their local supply chains.

 

"Considering our country's dairy tradition and the incredible variety of cheeses produced throughout the peninsula, restoring the central role of this food through a strategic market channel such as food service is an opportunity that restaurateurs and producers should consider" says Vincenzo Ignazzi, Export Manager of Caseificio Ignalat.

"As producers and exporters, this initiative offers a unique opportunity to showcase our Apulian cheeses to an international audience. When tourists visit Italy, they are always looking for authentic experiences. Offering them the chance to taste local cheeses in restaurants enriches their experience and helps spreading the reputation of Italian cuisine worldwide.

Looking to the future, it is essential that all industry players, from producers to restaurateurs, work together to achieve this goal."

 

The enhancement of dairy products in restaurant menus has the potential to transform the Italian culinary scene, making cheeses the protagonists of our offer at national and international level and strengthening Italy's reputation as the homeland of food excellence.

 

31 Maggio 2024

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