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Gorgonzola exports rise 12%, says cheesemaker

Pungent cheese up 0.5% per year even in Italy

20 November, 17:12
Gorgonzola exports rise 12%, says cheesemaker (ANSA) - Milan, November 20 - The Italian blue cheese Gorgonzola has seen exports rise by 12%, said managers of the Gorgonzola cheesemaker 5 Stelle on Tuesday during one of a series of educational events organized November 17-26 by Italian food association Federalimentare and Italy's education ministry.

The series of events, in which food companies across Italy open their doors to the public, is called Apertamente. "In Italy, Gorgonzola is a 500-million-euro business, with production surpassing four million moulds, the equivalent of 500,000 quintals" or 500 million kg, said Marco and Chiara Gelmini, siblings carrying the torch for a family business that opened its doors in 1880.

Gorgonzola bearing the protected designation of origin (PDO) EU label has even defied years of economic crisis within Italy, as domestic consumption has risen consistently by 0.5% over the last four years, the Gelminis said.

PDO, or DOP in Italian, is a quality designation that distinguishes authentic Gorgonzola, and has a long history of fans outside Italy - especially in France, Switzerland and Great Britain. Great Britain's prime minister during World War II, Winston Churchill, was such a fan he reportedly singled out gorgonzola on war maps, telling British bombers to spare the northern Italian areas that produced his favorite cheese.

Today Gorgonzola ranks third in Italy in terms of cheese production, after Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano - the hard, salty cheeses popularly grated on pasta dishes.