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food / travel

Something Smells Funny? Gorgonzola Popularity Spawns Bogus-zola

As Gorgonzola exports begin to boom, formaggio fraudsters try to get a cut of the action with fake versions of the cheese. One trick is to give the imitation variety a name that has a familiar ring.

Wheel in the real stuff (Rachel Black)
Wheel in the real stuff (Rachel Black)

*NEWSBITES

TURIN - All over Europe, the whiff of Gorgonzola is getting stronger and stronger. Thanks to aggressive advertisement campaigns featuring top chefs, sales of the zesty, blue and green-marbled cheese are rising fast. For instance, sales in Poland have increased 82% over the past year.

But with success comes the risk of stinky knock-offs, with "imitation" Gorgonzola increasingly showing up on the shelves. The Gorgonzola Consortium, a business organization in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy where the cheese is traditionally made, has warned that the imitation products are often sold under names ending with "zola" (but not starting with "Gorgon"), in order to confuse careless supermarket shoppers.

Most of the ersatz cheeses are sold in northern Europe, where several lawsuits have been filed. Courts are studying the cases. Authentic Gorgonzola producers, who benefit from the D.O.C label (denominazione di origine controllata) are also working with the cross-national Interpol and Europol policing agencies to help verifiy bona fide Gorgonzola exports.

Read the original Italian article in full by Gianfranco Quaglia

Photo - Rachel Black

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Rules: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched as a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and humiliates the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling as an absurd expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart beat fast when her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, which was part of a larger demonstration. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and shame start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Crawling has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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