mea cuppa

Darjeeling Tea Offered E.U.-Protected Status

Sorting out the imposters.

Sorting out the imposters.Photo: David J. Fred/Wikimedia

Call it the Darjeeling Limited, P.D.O.: For the first time, the European Union will recognize the authenticity and uniqueness of tea grown in Darjeeling, India, the Times reports, extending the same place-of-origin protections afforded to brandy from Cognac, grainy cheese from Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Champagne. Welcome to the P.D.O. club, Darjeeling tea! This means that nothing other than the famous tea produced in the thin air of West Bengal, which accounts for about one percent of India's annual two-billion-pound output, can be sold as such in Europe. Darjeeling dates to 1841, when a British surgeon planted a tea nursery in the hills, so while offering protection may seem like a coda to colonialism, it's really all about free trade and defining the market for bubbly: "sparkling wines from other places can be sold legally in India as 'champagne,'" the Times reports, noting it is "a practice that the European Union wants ended." [NYT]

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