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Typicality in History / La typicité dans l’histoire

Tradition, Innovation, and Terroir / Tradition, innovation et terroir


Edited By Giovanni Ceccarelli, Alberto Grandi and Stefano Magagnoli

Typical food is an in-vogue topic, embodying issues such as current trends in food globalization and European Union policies on agriculture and trade. It is, however, striking how little is known about its history. This book, inspired by the conference La tipicità nella storia: tradizione, innovazione, territorio, held in Parma and Langhirano in 2010, is an attempt to fill this gap. It includes essays by historians, sociologists, economists and experts in the food industry, who cover a wide range of products (wine, cheese, chocolate, cider), across a broad geographic scope (from France to Costa Rica and Norway) and time frame (from the Middle Ages to the present day). Besides the crucial issue of when and why the link between food and place of origin emerged, the contributors look at interactions between physical terroir and human savoir- faire and also between industrial innovation and traditional skills. Typicality is usually considered as a bottom-up process but the role of institutional protection is also examined. Designation of origin can be seen as a qualitative safeguard for food production, yet its influence on consumers’ choices is emphasized as well. In its approach, this multi-faceted book questions the oversimplified idea of typicality arising from a vaguely defined traditional food heritage. In 2010, the editors of this book founded the Food Lab, a research laboratory on food history based in the Department of Economics at the University of Parma.

This book contains articles in English and French.


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PART II TYPICALITY AND INSTITUTIONS DEUXIÈME PARTIE TYPICITÉ ET INSTITUTIONS 167 Costa Rica Between Trademarks and Geographical Indications A Case Study in the Development of Typicality* Fabio PARASECOLI The New School, New York In the past few years, Costa Rica, one of the most developed countries in Central America, has been trying to add value to its food production. Attempts to differentiate goods by adopting labels and other marks of quality have been carried out in various Central American countries.1 This paper explores the development of one of these labels – the Denomination of Origins (DO), which from the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) point of view is a specific kind of Geographical Indication (GI) – and its interaction with the actual cultural, historical, and geographical realities of the country. In the last decade Costa Rica has been working to create its own system of DO, choosing the European Union (EU) approach as the model for its legislation on the subject. This paper will focus particularly on the cheese from Turrialba, a district on the slopes of the Turrialba volcano in the province of Cartago on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. The area extends about 127,40 square kilometres and has a population of slightly over 3,000.2 This region produces about 70% of the fresh cheese consumed in the * Research in Costa Rica for this article was possible thanks to a grant from the IEHCA. 1 Oyarzun, M.T., Tartanac, F., Estudio sobre los principales tipos de sellos de calidad en...

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