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Andalusia, France and Italy design a Euro-Mediterranean network for artisanal cheese

A team of researchers from the University of Seville (US) participate in the setting up of a technical and professional Euro-Mediterranean network for the protection, promotion and territorial development of artisanal Mediterranean cheeses.

The network, named MIREDAF, is part of the INTERREG III B MEDOCC European Programme. Andalusia, through the University of Seville, participates in this project together with four French regions (Provence, Alps, Côte d’Azur, and Corsica), and three Italian regions (Campania and Basilicata).

One of the main instruments in this project will be a website, which will be operative in the next few days. According to Mr José María Castel, member of the University of Seville’s research group “Animal Production Technology”, the website “will include sections on information, events, legal framework support, and promotion of quality products”. This will be the first stage of the project: a common information base for all the regions about the present state of the sector and the different promotion activities carried out.

In particular, Andalusia’s main objectives in this project are to preserve the production’s technical heritage, and to promote the Association of Artisanal Cheese Producers. In this vein, in the second stage of MIREDAF, members of the French cheese producers’ association will 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.

Another important part of the project was the cheese contest and the awards to the best cheeses in the International Artisanal Cheese Fair. Prof. Castel, of the School of Agriculture and Farming Technical Engineering, labelled the experience as “fantastic”. "The contest, in which prestigious cuisine experts like Severio Álvarez took part, has been a total success, and has allowed us to establish the different characteristics of artisanal cheeses”, he added.

Also, all the involved research groups gathered last March 19 in Seville “to discuss the future of the network”. There is a proposal for annual meetings at different venues. In this sense, the Spanish members of the project have suggested to hold next year’s meeting in Antequera, in the Andalusian province of Malaga, as this town is both the region’s geographic and logistic centre and has been very active in the promotion of artisanal cheese production in Andalusia.

Ismael Gaona | alfa
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