Conserving Angus food traditions
- Jo Laidlaw
- 5 March 2015
How the European Union’s Protected Geogrphical Indication scheme works to support the food heritage of Angus and Dundee
Whether enjoying a slice of Gouda in Glamis or a few Cornish sardines in Carnoustie, it's important consumers can trust the origin of the food they're eating. The European Union's Protected Food Name scheme aims to help them do just that – rather like a food trademark.
Producers can apply for one of three classifications and approved products are then legally protected, effectively barring competitors from riding on the coat-tails of reputations which, in some cases, have taken hundreds of years to build. Consumers can then be confident they're buying the real deal – something unique, traditional, and above all, local.
Recent moves by the EU to shorten what's often seen as a cumbersome and lengthy process will be welcomed by two groups of local producers hoping to join Arbroath smokies in the region's protected hall of fame.
An application to give Forfar bridies Protective Geographical Indication (PGI) status – meaning only bridies produced on or very close to the town could bear its name – is currently being assessed by the Union. The application saw fierce rivalries put to one side, with local butchers coming together to decide on a definitive recipe for the delicious savoury shortcrust pastry so beloved of football fans.
A spokesperson from Angus Council, who have supported the bid, commented: 'Forfar folk are proud of their traditional bridie and we all believe it deserves recognition as a quality product with a unique heritage. PGI status will help us protect and promote the bridie throughout Scotland and beyond.’
Further up the road, a group of Dundonian bakers have high hopes of gaining PGI recognition for Dundee cake. Legend has it the cake was first baked for Mary, Queen of Scots who didn't fancy any glacé cherries in her fruit cake. First produced commercially in the city by marmalade manufacturer Janet Keiller, the crumbly cake is easily identifiable by its traditional topping of whole blanched almonds. According to the Scottish Government, the initial consultation process for Dundee cake – a period where views are sought from any individuals or organisations with an interest – is due to launch shortly.