Makers of "Parmesan" cheese and American prosciutto had better watch out: Today’s Wall Street Journal brings word of a new Italianissimi campaign designed to root out Italian-ish products that aren’t actually Italian. Through things like in-store tastings and classes at the Italian Culinary Academy, the trade group behind the campaign hopes to educate consumers on what products like Prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella di bufala, and Parmigiano-Reggiano really are.
What the group seems to be implying, though, is that the Italian products are also better. Yes, Parmesan cheese from a shaker is crap, and that company in California that sells so-called San Marzano tomatoes is very sneaky with its packaging, but we’ve also had some terrific American-made soppressatas, olive oils, and other Italian-style products. (And it feels good to know those things are produced nearby.) Commenters, what do you think? Do we really need a group committed to maintaining the sanctity of authentic Italian foods, or should they back off and let America enjoy its Iowa-made prosciutto in peace?