Asturian Quality Marks
There are a number of quality seals and promotional campaigns in Asturias. This is a (hopefully) complete guide to the ones you may encounter on your trip to Asturias.
These are used to designate that a product corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country). The use of a geographical indication, as an indication of the product's source, is intended as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a good reputation due to its geographical origin.
(Denominación de origen protegida) In English, the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). An EU scheme for geographical indications and traditional specialties. These laws protect the names of wines, cheeses, hams, sausages, seafood, olives, olive oils, beers, balsamic vinegar, regional breads, fruits, raw meats and vegetables.
The Protected Designation of Origin is the name of an area, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, the name of a country, used as a designation for an agricultural product or a foodstuff:
- which comes from such an area, place or country,
- whose quality or properties are significantly or exclusively determined by the geographical environment, including natural and human factors,
- whose production, processing and preparation takes place within the determined geographical area.
In other words, to receive the PDO status, the entire product must be traditionally and entirely manufactured (prepared, processed and produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.
DOP Marks in Asturias
(Indicación Geográfica Protegida) In English Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) – An EU scheme for geographical indications and traditional specialties. These laws protect the names of wines, cheeses, hams, sausages, seafood, olives, olive oils, beers, balsamic vinegar, regional breads, fruits, raw meats and vegetables.
The Protected Geographical Indication is the name of an area, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, the name of a country, used as a description of an agricultural product or a foodstuff:
- which comes from such an area, place or country,
- which has a specific quality, goodwill or other characteristic property, attributable to its geographical origin,
- at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the area.
In other words, to receive the PGI status, the entire product must be traditionally and at least partially manufactured (prepared, processed or produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.
IGP Marks In Asturias
(Especialidad Tradicional Garantizada) In English Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG) – An EU scheme for geographical indications and traditional specialties. These laws protect the names of wines, cheeses, hams, sausages, seafood, olives, olive oils, beers, balsamic vinegar, regional breads, fruits, raw meats and vegetables.
The TSG quality scheme aims to provide a protection regime for traditional food products of specific character. Differing from PDO and PGI, this quality scheme does not certify that the protected food product has a link to specific geographical area.
To qualify for a TSG a food must be of “specific character” and either its raw materials, production method or processing must be “traditional”. Under Art. 3 of Regulation 1151/12 “specific character” is defined as “the characteristic production attributes which distinguish a product clearly from other similar products of the same category”. Under Art. 3 of Regulation 1151/12 “traditional” is defined as “proven usage on the domestic market for a period that allows transmission between generations; this period is to be at least 30 years”. For a food name to be registrable under the TSG scheme it must (a) have been traditionally used to refer to the specific product; or (b) identify the traditional character or specific character of the product.
A TSG creates an exclusive right over the registered product name. Accordingly, the registered product name can be used by only those producers who conform to the registered production method and product specifications.
Product Quality Marks
In addition to the EU-wide Denominations above, Asturias has a few voluntary codes for certifying quality control standards in certain foodstuffs.
Morcilla y Chorizo Asturianos
The collective brand "Morcilla y Chorizo Asturianos" is a quality control system that is guaranteed by the Asociación de Industrias Cárnicas del Principado de Asturias (ASINCAR) Technological Center, which is responsible for carrying out controls to verify compliance with the requirements of the protected products.
The production of these products is totally handmade and traditional, and they are characterized by the natural smoking with noble woods, mainly oak, and the selection of the meats to be used, in order to have a high quality product.
In addition, it should be noted that both Chorizo and Morcilla Asturiana to be considered as such, must be produced, processed and packaged by a company located in the Principality of Asturias.
The Asturian product, always made in an artisanal and traditional way, is attributed a great personality due to its intense, strong and characteristic flavor. Partly due to the temperature and humidity typical of Asturias, but also because the smoking process is carried out with noble woods, such as oak, chestnut or holm oak, and usually takes between five and 15 days.
"The process is the same as was used before at home, and as is still done now, but elevated to industrial production and following quality standards," says Martínez, who assures that the balance since the creation of the brand is very positive for the 24 Asturian meat companies that are part of it.
"It benefits us more to protect the product we make", he insists, also explaining that work is already underway with the Regional Ministry of Agro-livestock and Autochthonous Resources for the collective mark to become a guarantee mark, thus extending the protection of the products.
The regional government in Asturias also maintains a number of quality marks related directly to the tourist experience in Asturias. There are two of those that are directly food related.
Mesas de Asturias (Excelencia Gastronómica)
The quality mark Mesas de Asturias - Excelencia Gastronómica, created in 2003, was a pioneer in its field in Spain. It meant and continues to mean, a recognition of those restaurants that know how to combine tradition and creativity in a harmonious balance, in the incomparable setting of the Asturian landscape and countryside.
Mesas de Asturias was born with the goal of making the act of savoring Asturian gastronomy a sublime, unique and unrepeatable moment, linked to the best local products. In fact, the aim is to turn gastronomic tours into a chain of full experiences through the Asturian culinary landscape.
The regulation of the use of this brand is the responsibility of the Government of the Principality and here you can download both the regulations and the references and technical documents, which specify the conditions and requirements for the application of the same by the hotel and catering companies of Asturias.
Sidrerías de Asturias (Calidad Natural)
The quality mark Sidrerías de Asturias Calidad Natural was created in 2017, with the objective of highlighting all the benefits of the Asturian cider culture, which is unique in the world.
The Asturian sidrerías are unique places, with a genuine gastronomy all their own, which combines wonderfully with Asturias cider, the drink par excellence of Asturias. The environment and atmosphere of the cider houses, closely linked to the ancestral customs and culture of Asturias, is the ideal complement to this absolutely unique experience.
The regulation of use of this brand is the responsibility of the Government of the Principality and here you can download both the regulations and the references and technical documents, where the conditions and requirements for the application of the same by the cider makers of Asturias are specified.