Italians hold their food to high standards. That’s why you can expect quality when it comes from Italy. Particularly if the imported Italian food you buy is labeled with DOP. DOP products provide you with a true taste of Italy. When looking for premium quality Italian foods or ingredients, look for the DOP label for the absolute best.
DOP is an acronym for Denominazione di Origine Protetta. It’s a certification that guarantees the products you’re purchasing are locally grown and packaged using traditional methods carried out by local artisans. The price tag on DOP items is always higher, but with that price comes the guarantee that it will be of the highest possible quality.
In order to receive the coveted DOP label, these Italian products must follow a stringent checklist that begins at production and ends at packaging. It is meticulously regulated to ensure quality and there is intense competition to produce Italian products with this distinguished label.
To be sure you’re getting an authentic DOP Italian specialty, you’ll need to look for the DOP label which will always be prominently placed on the packaging. It’s a small starburst-like seal in red and yellow.
If you’d like to sample the true tastes of Italy, look for the DOP label on specialty items like mozzarella di bufala. It’s a creamier mozzarella, often used in caprese salads. And on that same thread, balsamic vinegar is another one to look out for. The vinegar from Modena in particular, is thicker and intensely rich. It often ages for more than 12 years. Drizzle that on your mozzarella di bufala and you’ll be in heaven!
Another DOP Italian specialty is olive oil. There are many different kinds of DOP-labeled olive oils. Each hail from different regions and because olive oil is so distinctive in its own right, it really can be fun trying out different DOP-labeled olive oils from each region to truly appreciate the variety of authentic flavors.
(Photo by: Jim Lukach)
San Marzano Tomatoes are hand-harvested, crushed and canned. It is these cans you want to seek out to make your pasta and pizza dishes really pop. These tomatoes are incredibly special. Not only are they all around delicious, but have a delightful sweetness and earthiness to them. San Marzano Tomatoes intensify the favor of sauces, pastas, or pizzas, giving them that special authentically Italian flavor.
Feel like making an authentic Italian meal in your own kitchen? Seek out the DOP label on imported Italian foods. Using these specially labeled items, you can truly taste the handmade efforts of those that produced these impeccable foods.