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Monday 20 February 2023

Hard cheese: Australian producers exercise their whinge muscles

Australians are pretty big on cultural appropriation.

It is not so long ago that Aussie wine drinkers used to quaff Hunter Valley Chablis and enjoyed a Moselle or two.

But when the boot is on the other foot, Aussies are incensed. Like when Americans take our beloved Ugg boots and call them their own.

To me it is just plain silly to drink Australia "Burgundy" - a phrase thankfully now phased out - or eat "Cheddar" cheese that has not come within 17,000km of its birthplace at Cheddar in Somerset.

But that hasn't stopped the Australian dairy industry from having a big old whinge in the Weekend Australia about European Union moves to prevent Australian producers from using terms like brie and parmesan.

Brie is a soft cow's-milk cheese named after Brie, the French region from which it originated, while Wikipedia assures me that Parmesan is an Italian hard, granular cheese produced from cows' milk and aged at least 12 months.

The people interviewed by the Weekend Australian whined that consumers will stop buying local cheeses if they are not clearly identified.

One even said: "I'm a third generation European immigrant, so I'm very upset that they (the EU) are taking my cultural significance away from me."

Some serious irony there.
I wonder how the cheese farmers in Europe feel about their names being inappropriately used by Australians incapable of coming up with their own Australian names for their Australian products.

After much griping, Australian wine producers had to stop using terms like port and sherry - Portuguese and Spanish terms respectively.  

I simply fail to see how it is fair and reasonable for Australian producers to sell cheeses called Red Leicester or Camembert. 

In fact, I reckon a French or Italian producer should start marketing some Barossa Tasty, or Hunter Valley crumbly.

I bet that would not go down well at all.

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