There’s no question that Europe’s food and beverage superpowers are France and Italy.
Half of the products on the 100-strong list of unique European products that China agreed to protect (on Monday, September 14) come from France and Italy.
The list has 200 products altogether – equal numbers from China and the European Union (EU). All the products are distinguished either by the technique used in their production or the geography to which they belong. That entitles them to be protected by means of geographical indications, which is to say labels that identify the products as coming from a specific place and possessing “qualities or a reputation” that stem from that location.
So, for instance, champagne, which isn’t just a run-of-the-mill sparkling wine but the product of the Champagne region of France. There, a unique technique of champagne production was pioneered in the late 1600s.
The Chinese sought protection for, among other things, Pixian Bean Paste, Anji White Tea, Panjin rice and Anqiu Ginger.
The European list had a few surprises. For instance, a chewing gum produced in Greece, as well as four kinds of vodka (all manufactured in different European countries – Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Poland).
Generally though, there were the usual suspects such as Prosciutto di Parma.
So, Italy. And France. The F&B heavyhitters.