You may have seen the labels DOP and IGP displayed across the packaging of some of your favorite Italian foods. But what do they mean? The short answer is that these are certifications given to certain foods such as balsamic vinegar, prosciutto or Mozzarella di bufala to ensure the public that they are authentic, Italian foods. Here are the details:
IGP, Indicazione Geografica Protetta, simply means that a product can be traced back to their geographical origin during at least one phase in the production process. Meaning it can be linked to a place or region where it is produced, processed or prepared.
DOP is short for Denominazione di Origine Protetta. Translated, it means “Protected Designation of Origin.” It is the stricter of the two certifications. If a product is labeled DOP, then you can be sure that it has been produced, processed, and packaged in a specific geographical zone and according to tradition.
Why does it matter?
When you purchase a product labeled DOP or IGP, you know what you are getting is authentic Italian. In addition to preserving age-old Italian traditions, it is said that foods carrying these certifications taste better. And there’s a reason for that. Take the Pugliese Pane di Altamura as an example. For centuries now, the Bakeries have been dedicated to the crafting of the bread etc.
What to look for
So, the next time you are shopping for Italian specialty foods, keep an eye out for the labels below!