On Saturday, 25th October, at 12,30, the Consortium will award the "Parmigiano-Reggiano International Prize " to Argan Oil

Turin, 23rd October 2008 - "Environmental protection in our area means also, and above all, the preservation of the local agri-food system and, in particular, the defence of a key product like Parmigiano-Reggiano, whose production is not only rooted in a profound respect for the environment, but also in its real protection”.
This was stated by Giuseppe Alai, President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium, at the opening of Salone del Gusto in Turin, organised by Slow Food, of which the Consortium has been one of the main sponsors for years.
The Consortium is attending the Salone with great expectations, but also serious concerns linked to a difficult and long-lasting market situation: "the topics dealt with in this edition are environmental protection and culture of taste, that is, two key issues for the Italian high-quality agri-food system and, especially, for a product like ours which has its strength in the land of origin: this is also an additional reason for supporting a sector where producers are constantly taking care of the environment, so as to establish a very special ecosystem”.
For the Salone in Turin, the Consortium proposes several initiatives characterised by the common aim of protecting products with a designation of origin through the PDO and PGI system, and of creating a system that needs to be strengthened and defended within the World Trade Organisation.
This is the reason why on Saturday, 25th October, at 12:30, the Consortium will award the "Parmigiano-Reggiano International Prize" to the Argan Oil (Pav. 2 stand B 313).
In the light of international collaboration, the Consortium of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, which is a product that draws its success from the originality of its production process and the tradition of its producers, is committed to enhancing emerging food products (as already happened with "Cidre de Glace" in 2004 and “Café de Colombia” in 2006) that find their success in the link between land and quality.
The reflection proposed by the Consortium on the GI system will continue on Saturday at 3 p.m. with a round table promoted by the Consortiums of Parmigiano-Reggiano and San Daniele Ham on the topic “The value of Protected Designations of Origin".
Together with an analysis on the close relation between environmental protection and local products, the Consortium (representing Europe’s largest artisan product in terms of volumes: 430 dairies producing an average of 19 wheels per day each, for a total of over 3,000,000 wheels per year) proposes also other important appointments.
In fact, the Consortium’s stand will introduce the various dairies present at the exhibition or recognised as "Slow Food Presidia" (Parmigiano-Reggiano from Reggiana Red Cows and Modenese White Cows) which will be tasted during the tasting sessions of Parmigiano-Reggiano with different degrees of maturation, after the spectacular traditional wheel cutting using special knives.
“Parmigiano-Reggiano – Alai explains – is an extremely versatile product that is suitable for many combinations and whose taste changes according to its unmatched maturation process (minimum 12 months for it to be hot-iron branded after the Consortium’s selection processes, and also up to more than thirty months), which, together with its naturalness, is the secret for its unique characteristics”.
The Consortium stand will also host meetings with the Councillorships of Agriculture from all the Provinces of the area of origin, to provide a comprehensive picture of the agricultural activities of these areas that are strongly characterised by the presence of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

During some “Taste Laboratories”, on 27th October the Consortium and Slow Food will organise the tasting of Parmigiano-Reggiano of four different degrees of maturation, starting from 24 months to over 30 months: the cheese will be paired with wines that also improve with time: Marsala Vergine Baglio Florio, Barolo Flavio Roddolo, Puro Movia and Corton Charlemagne Bonneau du Martray.
An additional appointment – in partnership with another great cheese – is planned for 23rd October. Thanks to the collaboration with the Consortium for the protection of Idiazàbal (sheep’s raw milk cheese named after a tiny village in the Goierri Valley in the Basque Countries), four cheeses matched with a selection of wines from the same production areas will be tasted: Emilia for Parmigiano-Reggiano and Rioja for l’Idiazabal.

Finally, the moment dedicated to communication. Decanter, the RAI Radio Due programme by Fede and Tinto, is indeed sponsored by the Consortiums of Parmigiano-Reggiano and San Daniele Ham and is located near their stands. This is a way to broadcast all the messages arriving from the producers and from the Consortium and to get to know the characteristics of a product unique in the world in a pleasant and effective way.