Author:Špela Ledinek Lozej (ZRC SAZU)
Paper short abstract:
The paper focuses on the history and the present state of dairying in the mountain pastures in the Eastern Alps and examines different recent measures on the certification of authenticity which aim to link the traditional knowledge with sustainable development.
Paper long abstract:
Dairying in the mountain pastures in the Eastern Alps has a long tradition. The archaeological findings demonstrate that cheese-making technology was already known in the Roman period. It was documented in the Middle Ages and became even more significant within the Modern Age physiocratic efforts. In the last decades of the 19th century the individual production of butter and cheese was substituted by a more profitable common dairying and later on cooperative dairying. In the second half of the 20th century, milk processing in the mountain pastures started to disappear as a result of general abandonment of the mountain pastures and the transport of milk to valley dairies. Due to the efforts of individuals, dairying and related knowledge has been preserved in some mountain pastures until the 21st century. It has even been encouraged by different measures, for example trademarks or protected designation of origin on the national and European level. Despite the attempt to emphasize the authenticity of cheese varieties in the certification process, the irony is that at the same time the process of standardisation and unification takes place because of the precise production protocol in order to guarantee a standard. The certification process is therefore ambiguous. Some of cheese producers consider it as an opportunity for promotion and quality guarantee; however, some of them are more inclined to produce other varieties of cheeses and milk products which are not awarded trademarks and protected designation of origin, but are nevertheless authentic.
Traditional knowledge as the key for sustainable rural development: utopia or reality?