PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE: SEVENTY YEARS AGO THE CONSORTIUM WAS BORN

Today the anniversary: on 27 July 1934 the Consorzio Interprovinciale del Grana Tipico was established, the oldest organisation for the protection of a cheese. The 70th anniversary is celebrated with a series of events scheduled in September and October.

Reggio Emilia, 27 July 2004 – On 27 July 1934, in Reggio Emilia, at the headquarters of the Consiglio Provinciale dell’Economia, the “Consorzio Volontario Interprovinciale fra produttori del formaggio Grana Tipico” was established upon request of the representatives of producers from all the provinces of the production area.
In the previous years, producers had set the objective to identify the production of the cheese with the names of “Parmigiano” and “Reggiano” by means of a marking. After several years of debate and a few attempts undertaken at a provincial level, in 1934, producers succeeded in defeating the existing diffidence and incomprehension thereby giving life to the oldest organisation for the protection and promotion of a typical cheese. That was the expression of the history and culture of a specific territory. They decided that the wheels produced within the territories of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantua on the right bank of the river Po would be imprinted with the "C.G.T. Parmigiano-Reggiano" mark. In 1937, the production area was extended to include the territories of the province of Bologna on the left bank of the river Reno.
Since that decision, many targets have been accomplished and Consortium and Parmigiano-Reggiano have become an inseparable pair that has deeply influenced the rural and economic features of the production area where this precious cheese is made. There has been an incredible technical and economic development that has led to a significant increase of production: from 37,000 tons in 1933 to 113,400 tons today, whereas the number of dairies has diminished from 2,585 in 1938 to 524 in 2003, with a rationalisation of production within their artisan structure.
“This year, 70 years after that brave action – Andrea Bonati, President of the Consortium declared – our organisation would like to celebrate that event and pay homage to the people who, in all these years, have rendered the safeguarding and protection of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese possible, since it is one of the food products that has evidenced the close link between human beings and the natural environment of a territory”.
“There are three aspects – Bonati continues – that I would like to point out on this occasion. First, let’s reflect on the fact that in all these years, even with the radical technological transformations introduced into agriculture, the producers of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese have made fundamental choices at a technical level, which have enabled us to maintain the quality of the "king of cheeses " unaltered, by linking it to a traditional feeding based on local fodder and to a production process that, still today, does not use any additives or chemical artifices. Only in this way, we have succeeded in preserving the naturalness without which Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese would not achieve the balance of aromas and flavours, and the lengthy maturation that render it unique worldwide. Second, I would like to bring to mind that this willingness to keep the typical features of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese unaltered has always been accompanied by the choice of highlighting the mark distinguishing the wheels produced in this territory of origin, a mark that has increased its value over time. Third, throughout its history, the Consortium has always committed itself to protecting the product and the mark against any imitations. Through its incessant protection activity, the Consortium has been able to counter the illegal and imitation actions found at international levels and eased by the globalisation of markets”.
The 70th anniversary will not simply be a celebrative and evocative moment, but it will also be an opportunity to reflect on the endless growth process of this cheese, on the protection activity of the Consortium and on the role of institutions and organisations in Europe for the defence of territorial products.
“On occasion of the 70th anniversary – Leo Bertozzi, Director of the Consortium underlines – we will present the definitive programme that was announced during the press conference at the end of March, but which now is complete. The calendar of events that will take place in September and October will involve all the provinces of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production area. On the last day of celebrations and in the presence of Minister Alemanno, the first edition of the “Parmigiano-Reggiano International Award” will take place. This is an initiative that the Consortium intends on favouring for the growth of new Geographical Indications worldwide”.

Attachment: Programme for the celebrations of the Consortium’s 70th Anniversary


Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano
Press and Foreign Relations Office
in collaboration with Centro Stampa - Bologna

contact:
Igino Morini – Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano
tel. +39 0522 700230; fax +39 0522 700240; mobile 335 6522327
morini@parmigiano-reggiano.it