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Four delicious Italian products you may not have tried yet

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Ever wondered what the little paper wrap at the top of your bottle of Prosecco is for? If you look closely, you’ll likely see DOP or Denominazione d’Origine Protetta. It translates to Protected Designation of Origin and means that your Prosecco was made in Italy with traditional methods.

Similarly, in Europe, Prosecco is also a Geographical Indication (GI) which means that only Prosecco made in Italy is allowed to be named and branded as Prosecco. This preserves its reputation as uniquely Italian and allows customers to know that they are buying a product whose authenticity is enshrined in the unique combination between territories and productive methods handed-down and Improved across generations.

While Prosecco is one of the best-known Geographical Indications, there are plenty of other hidden Italian gems with a long (and delicious) history. Here are some to try.

 

Asiago cheese (Veneto)

Nestled in the foothills of Veneto, two hours north west of Venice is the town of Asiago where the hills are alive with the tradition of cheesemaking.The area for producing Asiago PDO cheese includes four provinces: Vicenza, Trento and a part of Padua and Treviso. This unique cheese is entirely made and processed at altitudes above 600 m.The practice dates back more than a thousand years and the result is a cow’s milk hard cheese that is full flavoured and sharp and denoted by a bright yellow, green and red wrapper

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Montasio cheese (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

Named after the Montasio plateau in the valleys of the Julian and Carnic Alps, Montasio is a cheese with as much history as it has flavour. Perseverant and experienced Benedictine monks first made it in the 13th century. Since then, the production techniques have developed significantly, but the concept of transformation and processing remain intact from its origins.

Produced exclusively with locally produced cow’s milk, Montasio can have medium or long maturation and presents a characteristic soft and delicate flavour. It takes on four different aspects and flavours depending on the ageing period: Fresh (2/4 months), Mezzano (10 months), Stagionato (more than 10 months) and Stravecchio (over 18 months).

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Limoncello liqueur (Campania)

Images of plump yellow lemons are often associated with the town of Sorrento, on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi coast. But did you know this is the birthplace of one of Italian most famous liqueurs, limoncello?

A strong, sweet liqueur, limoncello has been made in the city of Sorrento for over one hundred years as it is the only place where authentic Sorrento Oval Lemon, also known as “Campanian gold”, a variety of lemon whose bumpy, thick peel is needed to make authentic limoncello, can be grown.The lemon just picked from the tree releases all its aromas, giving Limoncello that acrid flavour, sour, sweet and intense at the same time, which makes it unique and unmistakable.

Saluti to that!

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Mirto liqueur (Sardinia)

An underground spirit, Sardinian liqueur Mirto is distilled from the dark myrtle berries that grow across the island located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Myrtle is a natural evergreen shrub that is very common in Sardinia. No machine has yet been invented to substitute man in picking the berries without damage to the shrub. For this reason, the task is entrusted to local expert pickers.

Mirto is a real institution in the gastronomic tradition of the beautiful island region as its recipe has remained the same throughout centuries.

With a slightly bittersweet flavour, it can be also part of a cocktail or served with soda for an evening aperitivo. Some even say Mirto will one day become as popular as Limoncello or Aperol. Why not discover it before the world does?

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