What does D.O.P. mean?...

italy / italian / food / way — mozarella di bufalaItalian agricultural products labeled D.O.P. (an acronym for Denominazione di Origine Protetta) are products whose ingredients and preparation are specific to a geographic region. So, olive oil D.O.P. Umbria is olive oil that was pressed in Umbria using olives that were grown in Umbria. In other words, products that are certified as locally grown and produced (and not products that are only distributed or manufactured locally). Why would I know this? It's because of Antonio Palmieri, owner of Tenuta Vannulo, a 100% organic dairy farm that produces fresh mozzarella and other products (e.g., ricotta, yogurt) all made from water buffalo milk.

We first met Antonio and his wife at Fonteverde (an exclusive health & beauty spa in Tuscany). We exchanged contact information and a few days later a package arrived (containing fresh mozzarella and yogurt). Over spring break, we headed to southern Italy (working our way past Napoli, past Salerno, and eventually arriving in Paestum where Antonio's dairy farm is located). italy / italian / food / way — Palmieri Tenuta VannuloPaestum boasts some of the largest, intact temple ruins of the Greek civilization (circa 500 B.C.). Antonio told me to look for "la casa piccola e rossa sulla sinistra" (which means "the little pink house on the left"). This little pink house turned out to be a large historic palazzo and Antonio's organic farm turned out to be a 222 acre spread with approx. 600 animals (half of which are producing).

We toured the facilities and then had lunch with he and his family in this beautifully restored house. He then took us on a personal tour of Paestum. Everyone knew him and treated him with great respect. Although Antonio and his family are somewhat celebrities in the region (his wife is frequently interviewed on national TV), they are all very unassuming. It was refreshing. I was sad when the day was over and we had to say our good-bye's and continue our trip. Antonio Palmieri is a true Italian gentleman.

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