The Appellation d’Origine Controlee mark guarantees, amongst other things, that the cheese originates from a specific region in France and has been produced in a traditional way.  Four main criteria have been precisely laid down for AOC cheeses:  the origin of the cheese is from a geographically precise region, e.g. a municipality or a district.  The milk must come from this region and the cheese must be produced and partly matured there as well.  The production methods have a strong influence on the characteristics of cheese.  To ensure high quality, AIC cheeses are made by strictly defined methods that have been handed-down over several centuries.  The typical characteristics of the cheese, such as its size, type of rind, texture, and minimum fat content are responsible for the flavor of a cheese.  These characteristics are precisely defined and have to be adhered strictly.  The manufacturers submit themselves to controls by a public control commission.  Representatives of the government guarantee the authenticity and quality of the products.  Representatives of the government guarantee the authenticity and quality of the products.  The history of AOC certification goes back as far as the 15thcentury.  A decree of the Toulouse Parliament dating from 1666 is considered to be the first juridical text that refers to a cheese, namely Roquefort.  It is on the basis of this decree that the whole jurisdiction developed.  Laws from 1955 and 1973 state that the award of an AOC is only possible on the basis of a decree.  Since 1990 the INAO (Institute National des Appellations d’Origines – The National Institute for Designations of Origin) has been charged with this responsibility.

The Italians have their own way of guaranteeing fromaggio lovers that their cheese is of the highest quality.   A cheese awarded the DOP is most special.  DOP stands for “Denominazione di Origine Protetta”, which means Protected Designation of Origin.  Similar to the AOC, the DOP guarantees that the milk of the cheese and production are in a certain location in Italy.  Also, the methods of production must be traditional, and have fixed storage guidelines to ensure that the cheese ages correctly.  It is a mark of optimal quality and high standards.

S & L Fine Foods has a wide selection of AOC French Cheeses and DOP Italian Cheeses, as well as cold cuts.  We highly recognize the authenticity of our line of items, like our 36 month old Parmgianno Reggiano Cheese, Mozzarella di Bufala, Mascarpone, Pecorino, Provolone and Ricotta from Italy; Gouda from Holland; Gruyere from Switzerland; Petit Livarot, Epoisses, Bleu d’ Auvergne, Roquefort, Brie and Camembert from France;  Manchego, Idiazabal and Queso de Cabra from Spain, to name a few.  If you want the real deal, you won’t go wrong with S & L Fine Foods.