PGI and PDO: what is the difference?

In the food world there are many certifications. Probably the two most important are PGI and PDO. What is the difference between them? Well there is a big difference, although it is usually overlooked.

PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) emphasises the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product, where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. 

For most products, the main condition is that at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the region (in the case of wine, this means that at least 85% of the grapes used have to come exclusively from the geographical area where the wine is actually made)

On the other hand product names registered as PDO (protected designation of origin)  are those that have the strongest links to the place in which they are made.

Every part of the production, processing and preparation process must take place in the specific region, for wines, this means that the grapes have to come exclusively from the geographical area where the wine is made.

So although this two marks look very similar, they are completely different. While with PGI an Italian cheese can be made with milk coming from abroad and still having a PGI mark, with PDO the rules are much more stringent. 

As in the case of the two most famous PDO, Parmigiano and Gorgonzola, everything in the process must be from the allotted region of provenance with stricter rules from the "disciplinare". 

Parmigiano for example is the clearest example. All the milk must come from the allotted farms and the production must be made entirely in that area. 

You will notice a big difference in prices, with the PDO of course more with an higher price, and higher quality.

Our PDO products are made by very special producers. Parmesan PDO from the Organic Farm Iris is made with milk coming directly from the barn and Davide and family take care personally of the fodder.

Gorgonzola PDO is made in Valsassina by Alain from Leccolatte. Milk comes from the stables around the dairy, made in small batch for a Gorgonzola that left us speechless the first time we tried it.


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