What connects Fenland celery with Gruyère cheese? Cornish clotted cream with Prosciutto di Parma? Or Gloucestershire Old Spots Pork and Pizza Napoletana? They have all been granted Protected Geographical Status under EU law through the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) regimes respectively.
Some of the most iconic food and drinks produced in the European Union benefit from legal protection. Champagne, Parmesan and Jamón de Huelva are some of the iconic examples, but foods produced in the UK also benefit from protection.
There are currently c. 60 products that are protected under one of the three official EU regimes. From a cheddar cheese produced in Orkney to the north to Kentish ale in the south, Pembrokeshire early potatoes in the west to Grimsby smoked haddock in the east – what the UK lacks in number it makes up for in the variety of protected produce.
Some regions are particularly well known for their produce. Cornwall has four designations, covering Cornish clotted cream, Cornish pasties, Cornish sardines and Fal oysters.
Cheeses are well represented, with the UK protecting Buxton blue, Beacon Fell Lancashire, Dorset Blue, Stilton and Wensleydale amongst the 16 cheeses to be designated. Ciders and perrys from Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire are included.
As befits an island nation, the sea provides a wide variety of specialty produce including Lough Neagh eels, Scottish smoked salmon, Whitstable and Fal oysters, Isle of Man Queenies and Arbroath smokies.
The future looks promising for the UK specialist agricultural sector, with several applications reaching the final European Commission stage. Those that could soon be benefitting from protection include the Birmingham balti, coracle caught salmon and sewin from west Wales, watercress and Welsh Laverbread.
Further down the line, we could be celebrating Dundee Cake, Jersey milk and butter, Caerphilly cheese and London cured smoked salmon.