Sapòrem is derived from the Latin sapor which roughly translates to “that which tastes good”, which I feel is rather an understatement given the experience I had travelling in Italy at the end of September.
Sapòrem represents 4 consortia of premium traditional products from the North of Italy, all have designated protection of origin status – the PDO, PGI and DOCGs. These letters all mean slightly different things but the idea is the same; they mark products that have to be made in a certain area, according to a specified method and only using certain ingredients. It is a guarantee for the consumer who can feel confident that they will by buying a premium product, and also for the producer who can command a premium price for a premium product which takes longer, and is more expensive to produce.
During my week in Italy, I visited, tasted, learnt about and talked with the producers of
The regulations are legal documents, dry, and colourless but necessary to maintain the quality and provide protection for both producer and consumer. I feel that the regulations and the entire designation of origin scheme is the bare bones of producing quality food and drink, for it is the passion, dedication, experience and love that colour and flavour these foods and make them so special.
Near Cremona, I met the cheese maker who spends his days with his arm plunged into vats of curds determining the exact moment every stage of the cheese making process should occur. In Bologna, a sausage maker cradled his Mortadella with as much pride and tenderness as he might his new born baby. In San Daniele hams are cured with love and dedication, and on the slopes of the vineyards of Conegliano Valdobbiadene bunches of the Glera grape are harvested by hand ready to be made into the best Prosecco.
It symbolises the entire ethos of great Italian cuisine – quality ingredients simply cooked – and having witnessed and learnt about these four products it really does not surprise me that the Slow Food movement originated in Italy, where it was founded by Carlo Petrini in the 1980’s and has grown to become an international movement.
Slow food celebrates the excellence of food and the connection between the food, people, place, tradition and culture – all of which are echoed and reinforced by the cheese maker, the sausage maker, the ham curer and the wine maker – dedicated to and passionate about their vocation to making these products.
We are only going to continue to enjoy top quality products, made with love and passion including Grana Padano PDO, Mortadella Bologna PGI, Proscuitto di San Daniele PDO and Prosecco Superiore CV DOCG if we support and buy them and learn about the processes.
The next time you are shopping for any product look to see if there is a version with a designation of origin – the PDO, PGI or DOC and buy that one instead. It might cost a little more, but is worth every penny. Once you get it home, savour it, taste it mindfully. Read about it on the internet and from a connection – however tenuous – to the place and the maker to enjoy it even the more.
Thank you to Sapòrem for an amazing, educational and opinion changing trip. Thank you and a huge respect to everyone involved with making quality and traditional foods – your passion shines through.
I was commissioned by Sapòrem to travel to Italy and to write about and share my experience visiting their four Consortia of premium traditional Italian products. All opinions my own.