Italy: Passing the Taste Test

Passing the Taste Test

Like the snooty appeal of the French Appellation Controllee, the Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata is meant not only to guarantee origin and authenticity of a product but also to imply that a particular brand is, well, better than other brands. But Italy may be producing too much of a good thing. Originally intended as a guide to superior wines, the DOC stamp of approval now appears on Parmesan cheese, prosciutto crudo, balsamic vinegar and chestnuts, all frequent fare on Italian tables. Among the other items that may soon bear the DOC label: handcrafted ceramics, Neapolitan pasta and pizza.

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