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Protected Designation of Origin

PDO is the Protected Designation of Origin. It officially guarantees the origin and quality of products with a history and tradition behind them. The PDO was created by the European Union to help consumers by informing them about the specific features of the products, and to protect their geographical appellations against imitations and usurpations.

In the UK and Ireland, we have never been better informed about good food and wine, and their provenance. For years we were looked down on by our European peers when it came to our interest in food – or lack of it. But that’s all changed and we are now a nation of foodies. The plethora of cookery books, acres of press coverage and TV programmes devoted to food and wine are all testament to this.

And in Europe we’re spoiled for choice with an amazing wealth of excellent food and fine wines. Sometimes, though, such a wide choice can be bewildering and this can result in consumers making disappointing and poor quality choices. This is when it can be helpful to have some guidance as to the source and quality of a product. Step forward the EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) stamp of approval. This guarantees that the product bearing this coveted label will be of a very high standard and that its provenance is guaranteed. At the same time, wines which carry the DOC or AOC labels come with the same such assurance.

The EU’s Discover the Origin Campaign intends to raise consumers’ awareness of five of these products - Parma Ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Burgundy Wines, Douro wines and Port. These have been produced over the centuries, often by artisan craftsmen and winemakers who have handed down their techniques over the generations, often within the same family. The campaign aims to highlight not only the provenance and quality of these foods and wines, but also the importance of sharing meals with friends and family. Try out some new recipes with these foods, and match them with wines you may never have tried before. And it’s not only consumers who the campaign is aimed at; the trade is also being targeted via a three year national programme.

Trainee chefs and sommeliers will be challenged to come up with the most innovative dish they can dream up using these fine ingredients, and to match them with Burgundy wines, Douro wines and Port, while wine merchants will be encouraged to enter a competition to see who can put together the most eye-catching display of these wines. Other activities will include trade exhibitions and masterclasses.

Spend some time on this site, indulging your thoughts and your senses on one of life’s truly great pleasures: fine food and wine.

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