Errico Auricchio, BelGioioso Cheese
Errico Auricchio’s family has been making Italian-style cheeses since 1877. Thirty years ago, Errico moved his family from Italy to the United States to start his own cheese company in Green Bay, Wisconsin, making asiago, grana, fontina, mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, provolone and romano.
“From the beginning, I had only one goal – to make great Italian cheeses – and I succeeded. The complete line is made from authentic Italian recipes. We don’t cut corners when making them; that is why each BelGioioso cheese has its own personality,” Auricchio says.
As chairman of the Consortium for Common Food Names, Auricchio notes that it’s “hard to believe we need to defend the right to use common names like parmesan. We have to raise the issue so people are aware of it.”
“This is not just a question of dollars and cents, but of fairness and choice. These are names that are in the public domain. The logical path is to label foods so consumers can choose what they want – whether it’s a product from the valleys of France, Italy or Wisconsin. What matters is that they can choose,” he says.
Auricchio also points out that cheeses such as many he makes have more value to all cheesemakers today because producers around the world have made them, and exposed millions of people to them.
“That’s better for everyone. A protected name without exposure will severely limit sales of that product,” he notes.
“Every cheesemaker should join the consortium, whether they make these styles of cheese today or not, so that they will always be free to produce them in the future. And every consumer association should join because consumers should always have a choice,” he says.
Through the years, BelGioioso cheeses have won many prestigious awards and have set a standard of excellence in the industry.
The company has five state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in Wisconsin. Each plant specializes in a specific cheese that is produced there daily by the same cheesemakers. BelGioioso also exports to several countries around the world. http://www.belgioioso.com
Jose L. Vargas Leiton, Corporación Monteverde CR, S.A.
Monteverde Corporation was founded 60 years ago, in an isolated area of Costa Rica. The company has played a critical role in the development and economy of the community.
Monteverde employs over 400 workers in its production and marketing of dairy products. In addition, 450 members, farm workers and their families depend on the company for their livelihood.
The company specializes in the production of mature cheeses such as gouda, edam, provolone, emmenthal and parmesan, among many others.
“We have been producing these products for many decades,” says José L. Vargas Leitón, Gerente General.
“The European Community has been seeking to claw back the common names that we have been using for decades in Costa Rica and Central America by local farmers and immigrants,” he adds. “On this matter, the Consortium plays an essential role and we are proud to be part of it. It is essential to protect the rights of producers and processors to maintain the ability to use generic names such as parmesan. Otherwise, thousands of small and medium-sized producers in Central America will be affected economically.”