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EU artisan cheese makers push their products

By staff reporter , 09-May-2006

A Euro-Mediterranean network for the protection, promotion and territorial development of Mediterranean artisan cheeses is bringing together diverse regions of Spain, Italy and France.

The network, named MIREDAF, is part of the INTERREG III B MEDOCC European Programme.

Andalusia, through the University of Seville, is participating in this project together with four French regions - Provence, Alps, Cte d'Azur, and Corsica- and two Italian regions - Campania and Basilicata.

The Spanish region says that its main objectives are to preserve the productions technical heritage and to promote the Association of Artisan Cheese Producers.

The MIREDAF project includes the establishment of a common information base for the regions about the present state of the sector and the different promotion activities carried out. Members of the French cheese producers association also plan to explain their working procedures and techniques to Andalusian producers.

Andalusia lacks this kind of structure, so our main aim is to encourage Andalusian producers to believe in the benefits of the association as a useful promotion and marketing tool," said Jos Mara Castel, member of the University of Seville's Animal Production Technology research group.

Another important part of the project was the recent awards ceremony to recognise the best cheeses in the International Artisan Cheese Fair.

Professor Castel of the School of Agriculture and Farming Technical Engineering at the University of Seville called the experience fantastic.

"The contest, in which prestigious cuisine experts like Severio Alvarez took part, has been a total success, and has allowed us to establish the different characteristics of artisan cheeses, he said.

A proposal has been put forward to establish annual meetings at different venues. The Spanish members of the project have suggested holding next year's meeting in Antequera, in the Andalusian province of Malaga.

The town is situated at the regions geographic centre, and has been active in the promotion of artisan cheese production in Andalusia.

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