Most high quality cheese makers try to obtain prestigious labels, decorations, “awards” and other titles in order to position themselves as “luxury cheese”. The cheese with PDO is no exception to the rule. If you ask yourself “Is there any luxury cheeses?” The answer is clearly Yes.
Protected Designation of Origin
This label refers to any product whose production, processing and accomplishment are carried out according to a recognized know-how and specific specifications, in a specific geographical area; this is part of an international law related to intellectual property.
The geographical areas defined in the specifications take into account the historical link between the product and its region as well as the evolution of the production besides the expansion or the fragmentation of the production zones.
The origin of this name was the need to declare war on fraudulent productions that took place at the beginning of the 20th century. It all started with the wine market and then extended to all food and agricultural products, in 1990 to unify national protection systems for controlled designations.
Since 2009, PDO covers all European food products and any product bearing this designation must have the PDO logo which was created on May 1, 2009 on packaging. It is the best guarantee and protection for producers against fraud in Europe. For consumers, it identifies and guarantees the quality of the products.
In order to have the PDO from the European Commission, the products must already be CDO certified.
Products with PDO in Switzerland
In Switzerland, the list of cheeses with PDO includes: Emmental PDO, Gruyère PDO, Berner Alp- und Hobelkäse PDO, Etivaz PDO, Raclette du Valais PDO, Sbrinz PDO, Tessiner Alpkäse PDO, Tête de Moine PDO, Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO, Vacherin Mont-d’Or PDO, Bloder-Sauerkäse PDO, Glarner Alpkäse PDO, Fromaggio d’Alpe Ticinese PDO …
Besides cheese, other products also bear this designation in Switzerland: we can name alcohols like Apricot PDO, Damassine PDO, Pear Valais PDO, Zuger Kirsch and Rigi Kirch PDO.
Cardon épineux genevois PDO, it is a meal of the region. Cuchaule PDO: a very famous product of the bakery in the region of Fibourg. La poire à Botzi PDO: It is a particular pear found near Lake Neuchâtel. Le Munder Saffran PDO: it is a Spice produced in the village of Mund. Le Rheintaler Ribelmais PDO: It is semolina produced from an old variety of corn.
Swiss Cheese with PDO
Swiss PDO cheeses strongly refer to their geographical origins and are directly impacted by all its climatic and soil components: soil formation and evolution, techniques … With the know-how of the master cheese-makers, this is what gives the cheese its character and personality.
Swiss law protects the PDO label which is intended for foodstuffs well preserved in their terroirs, this guarantees all steps of cheese making, from the production of milk to its processing into a final product. There is hard cheese, semi-hard cheese and soft cheese.
Whoever speaks of PDO refers to specifications. A group of cheese professionals who deal with the competent authorities that is the Federal Office of Agriculture in Switzerland. These specifications aim at keeping an eye on the production and the transformation processes of raw materials, and clearly indicate the prohibited practices that may affect the typicality and/or quality of the cheese.
According to AGRIDEA 2017, surveys carried out on the PDO, ProCert and OIC branches:
– In Switzerland, cheese represents 85% of the products bearing a PDO with a total volume of 54 696 tons.
– The turnover of processed cheese is 681.33 million Swiss francs which represents 77% of the total turnover of PDO products.
– The production volume of PDO cheese represents 44% of the total production of Swiss cheeses, I.e. 124,350 tons (source: sectors, SCM and TSM Fiduciaire Sarl).
– The production volume of Gruyère with PDO is 26 781 tons and that of Emmental with PDO is 17 029 tons.