A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

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A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Neil Courtney » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:59 pm

"Would Parmesan by any other name be as tasty atop your pasta? A ripening trade battle might put that to the test.

As part of trade talks, the European Union (EU) wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheese made in the United States.

The argument is the American-made cheeses are shadows of the original European varieties and cut into sales and identity of the European cheeses."

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/new ... d=11218415

So the EU is not satisfied with banning Chablis and Champagne (quite reasonably IMHO), they are now gunning for Parmesan and feta as well.

So if Parmesan was called Purmasan in the US would you still buy it?
Cheers,
Neil Courtney

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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:37 am

I think this is a fine idea. Generally, the cheese that's made here and given the name of some famous European cheese is the equivalent of the old California "Burgundy". Even when it's not terrible, it's usually a pale imitation of the real thing. As with wine, those who are seriously into making good cheese would rather call it something that differentiates it from the old world versions. So you have places like Cowgirl Creamery and Cypress Grove that make excellent cheeses and name them "Truffle Tremor" and "Humboldt Fog" and such. I think it's that way in other parts of the country as well.

So I think it's fine if Kraft has to call the powdered stuff in the green tube something like "Imitation Parmesan-like Cheese-like Food Topping". Or maybe "Pizza Whitener".

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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:27 am

I am fine to protect the original sources of these cheeses.

I will somewhat cynically observe, however, that "feta" is made in a zillion parts of the Old World -- I can get it from three different Euro countries in one store alone! -- and that gorgonzola, while lovely, has a million blue-green competitors. The only truly unique cheese, of the three, is parmesan.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Hoke » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:54 am

I'm good with it too. But only for DOP cheeses (those unique and worth protecting).

If we accept terroir and concepts like AOC for wine, then we also have to accept that a certain cheese made in a certain area in a certain way and judged to be typical should be able to claim that name. And the French also protect chickens (Bresse) and certain types of beef cattle, and other foodstuffs that are the product of a place and a traditional method.

The Italians make Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan). Just north of that they make a similar, but not quite the same cheese, named Grana Padano. Both are protected, and should be.

Mike cited Cowgirl, and Cypress, and you could add lots of others.

Meanwhile, a lot of cheese sold in grocery stores----and even very high end cheese counters in grocery stores---sell a lot of Argentinean "Parmesan". It's not parm.reg; it's just sorta like it. Not the same.

Someone makes a new cheese, they should make up their own name for it. As in Cambozola, a blend of brie and bleu, from Germany.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:36 am

Well, since the UK is part of the EU (isn't it?) what about cheddar? I've had cheddar from NY State, Vermont, Wisconsin, Canada, and Ireland, in addition to England. Should we change the name of domestic mozzarella to pizza cheese? Or would that offend Italians who say pizza can only be made in Italy?
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:44 am

Howie Hart wrote:Well, since the UK is part of the EU (isn't it?) what about cheddar? I've had cheddar from NY State, Vermont, Wisconsin, Canada, and Ireland, in addition to England.


My guess is that the UK was slower in lobbying for protection, but I don't know. Given the wide range of differences in those cheeses, I would be in favor of some sort of place designation. I.E. Cheddar vs. Wisconsin Cheddar vs. Vermont Cheddar. Although of course you then have further issues with how specific to get and all the stylistic variations within geographic designations. But such is the inevitable tradeoff for any regulation.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:02 am

Hoke wrote:Someone makes a new cheese, they should make up their own name for it. As in Cambozola, a blend of brie and bleu, from Germany.


My favorite Steve Jenkins Fairway sign was for Cambozola , something like "this German cheese is made in a factory (and tastes like it). Supposedly a combination of Brie and Gorgonzola, it has the worst qualities of both. Somehow, despite its lack of character, people still buy it. Go figure”
Despite that sign stuck in the cheese, it apparently sold well enough to stay on counter.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Carl Eppig » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:39 am

They picked the right three cheeses to start with. Feta is my biggest bitch. They don't even make it from the right animal in the States.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Peter May » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:19 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Well, since the UK is part of the EU (isn't it?) what about cheddar? I've had cheddar from NY State, Vermont, Wisconsin, Canada, and Ireland, in addition to England.


Yes, UK is in EU.

Not protection for cheddar - thinks its too late now.

But just 'cos you've had US versions means very little when you can still buy US fizz labelled as 'champagne'.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Jenise » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:17 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:They picked the right three cheeses to start with. Feta is my biggest bitch. They don't even make it from the right animal in the States.


Isn't French feta typically cow's milk? If so, we're not alone.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Peter May » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:28 pm

Jenise wrote:
Isn't French feta typically cow's milk? If so, we're not alone.


If there was French Feta there isn't any more :)

Feta is now an EU legally protected name for Greece only.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Peter May » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:34 pm

I thought he title of this thread might relate to my experience last night...

In restaurant asking for side salad and emphasised 'no cheese' and got acknowledgment ' no cheese'.

When it arrive - cheese was all over it.

"I requested 'no cheese'" I said.

Waitron merrily said - "There isn't."

"Then what's that?" I asked, pointing to the white cubes

"Feta."
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:53 pm

Peter May wrote:"Feta."

Hysterical.
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:02 am

Howie Hart wrote:Well, since the UK is part of the EU (isn't it?) what about cheddar? I've had cheddar from NY State, Vermont, Wisconsin, Canada, and Ireland, in addition to England. Should we change the name of domestic mozzarella to pizza cheese? Or would that offend Italians who say pizza can only be made in Italy?


A couple of good points there, Howie. Just how far would we want to take this?

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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby Hoke » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:41 am

I'm not very worried about offending Italians, or Greeks.

And I'd be happy with attaching place name identifiers with certain types of cheese that are well known but have fallen somewhat in the generic category---so Mozzarella as New York Mozzarella or California Mozzarella, or even Philadelphia Feta, just as we'd have Wisconsin Cheddar, California Cheddar, etc....as long as the place is clear and equal to the name of the cheese.

Where I have a problem is when the name of the cheese is clearly identified with a particular place and a controlled process/method, especially DOP/AOC/AOP recognized cheeses. So Grana Padano DOP, and the name can't be used for other cheeses. ParmReggiano---only for the DOP area and process.

And other than cheeses....what about, oh, chorizo?
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Re: A cheese by any other name is still a cheese?

Postby David Creighton » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:27 am

Neil Courtney wrote:"Would Parmesan by any other name be as tasty atop your pasta? A ripening trade battle might put that to the test.



So if Parmesan was called Purmasan in the US would you still buy it?


this question seems to be the essence of the problem. under the EU demand Parmesan would NOT and COULD NOT be called Purmasan or anything else. the stuff from Parma that is. but stuff that had been mad and so labeled would be required to change the name. my feeling is that if the packaging remained obviously similar - like the Kraft logo and all - that people would buy the same things they always bought and that no sales of any of the competing products would be affected. but they would be prompted to ask why part of the label had changed and thereby be educated on traditional foodways. i do like the suggestion that the product has to actually be protected by a DOP before any changes are demanded in other countries. anyway, i wonder if calling the US version 'putaparmesana' would satisfy?
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