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

Texas In Germany? Saxony Mixes Anti-Vaxxers And Far-Right Politics

When it comes to vaccination rates, there are striking parallels between Germany and the United States. The states with the most opposition to vaccines differ politically from those with the highest vaccination rates. Now the consequences for booster shots are starting to become visible, especially in the United States.

A protest in Saxony last year against COVID-19 restrictions

Zentralbild/dpa via ZUMA
Daniel Friedrich Sturm

-Analysis-

WASHINGTON — Ok, so Saxony was singled out last week in a New York Times article as an example of the disastrous vaccination situation in parts of Europe. The article talks about the link between anti-vaxxers and the political success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern German state.

In a sense, Saxony is Germany's Texas. For instance, 59% of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated, but in strictly Republican Texas, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the 2020 election, this figure stands at 54%.

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