“The contrast between countries, such as Italy, with a strong tradition of locally characterized quality agrifood production and those without this tradition makes global trademark protection complicated.” So headlines Digital Agenda, the most authoritative online publication in terms of industrial law and intellectual property.
In the reality of the gastronomic world of Ligurian specialties, a watershed event was the recognition of focaccia di Recco as a PGI product, dated 2015. The event brought with it controversies and issues. All the realities of the area had to confront European guidelines.
And today, several time after the European regulations were issued, where are we with the regulations? And we at Focaccia e Dintorni, doc focacciari in the carrugi of Genoa, how have we caught up with the times? Find out more about the history of Focaccia di Recco, the controversy over its designation, and the hefty fines to careless restaurateurs!
There is a wealth of interesting news in the relevant regulatory acts. Taking a look at the “Focaccia di Recco col formaggio” product specification of the Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies of 2015 and the European Commission’s Implementing Regulation 39/2015, we can see how the roots of this product go back to the history of Italian gastronomy.
History of the focaccia di Recco
According to gastronomic historians, the origins of focaccia date back to the time of the Saracen invasions (10th century) when the Genoese population, in order to escape the invader, took refuge inland.
In that difficult context cheese, flour and a little oil were the ingredients available in greater quantities and on which the preparation of the food consumed in the daily diet was based. A. Molinari Pradelli, “Ligurian Cuisine,” 2003).
In the 19th century there are numerous references to the food in the specialized literature. Beginning in the early 1960s, with the economic boom in Italy and the increase in the flow of tourists to the area, the demand and notoriety of “Focaccia di Recco col formaggio” gradually increased.
Contemporary legal history
Today, producing and marketing Focaccia di Recco col formaggio Igp (Recco focaccia with cheese) is allowed exclusively in the territory of the four municipalities specified in the 2015 regulations: Recco, Avegno, Sori and Camogli. . The regulations regulate in detail every single aspect of the focaccia production and sales process, sparing no description of the organoleptic characteristics that the product must take on at each stage, minutely describing its smell and texture.
The decision, which affected thousands of producers, both Italian and non-Italian, who until then had produced and sold focaccia di Recco or focaccia type Recco, aroused several controversies, the main ones from foreign producers, who were prevented from complying with the regulations.
Specifically, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the company Fresh gourmet Catering LLC, based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, objected to the registration under Article 51(1) of Regulation (EU) No. 1151 1151/2012. The Commission examined the reasoned statements of opposition from Portugal and the United Kingdom and found them admissible under Article 10 of Regulation (EU) No. 1151/2012. 1151/2012. Fresh gourmet Catering LLC was found to have no legitimate interest and, as a result, its opposition was deemed inadmissible under Article 51(1) of that Regulation.
|The statements of opposition, solicited by two clients (the first based in Portugal, the second in the United Kingdom) of an Italian company located in the geographical area and marketing its product in the form of frozen food, mainly concerned the name and the prohibition of pre-cooking, freezing or other preservation techniques.|
Trademark registration, of course, moves from economic motivations but also cultural motivations related to the preservation of the traditional production process. It is so meticulous that in Article 8 of the specification we read in what precise way the product is to be presented in te public:
“The characteristics of the wording are as follows: ‘FOCACCIA DI RECCO’ font used TECNO regular uppercase followed by ‘with cheese’ font used TECNO regular lowercase.”
It is controversial, to say the least, whether or not the font of the product’s presentation tag should also be meticulously standard for the product in question; the debate shows no sign of ending…
The litigation that has been generated by the legislation in question has had a fair amount of media coverage.
In the early days after the regulations were issued, some restaurateurs had adopted creative techniques to avoid problems, such as calling their cheese focaccia “Recco-type focaccia.” he salty penalties (several thousand euros) were not long in coming and defined the precise rules for the matter, in compliance with the strict directions of the specification.
The regulation, in fact, is very stringent, especially with regard to the stages of production. It includes explicit references to:
- preparation of the dough;
- preparation of the first layer of dough;
- filling and preparation of the second layer of dough;
- finishing and baking.
Not slavishly following the directions for these steps is tantamount to incurring penalty, as careless restaurateurs throughout Italy have experienced.
How did we approach the matter?
We immediately adapted to the rules, without giving up the production of one of our most beloved products ever, the cheese focaccia.
Due to geographical issues, of course, we do not fall under the PGI locations, but we strongly continue to carry on the value and tradition of this product.
Come and try our version of cheese focaccia, respecting tradition but with a look at modernity!