A.O.C Appellation d'Origine Controlee

"Controlled designation of origin" is an Official French label to protect a product linked to its geographical origin and its production process. This label grants the origin of traditional food products, grown in a specific "terroir" and fruit of a dedicated know-how. A.O.C label is a guarantee of quality. Today, A.O.C label has been superseded by the A.O.P (Protected designation of origin), which is the European label to protect a product linked to its geographical origin and production process.


Burrata means "buttered" in Italian. It's that rich. It is a fresh cheese at its best. At first glance, burrata resembles a ball of mozzarella. But upon further scrutiny, it's clear that this round of cheese is softer, and indeed, when cut, has an interior that spills out, revealing soft, stringy curd and fresh cream. If you're a lover of mozzarella, ricotta, or really anything that's straight-up creamy, this cheese is so what you want.

Burrata is not mozzarella. And burrata is not buffala mozzarella, although it's made from buffalo milk.

In understanding the makeup of burrata, however, it's helpful to summarize a bit about mozzarella. Mozzarella is what's called a pulled curd or pasta filata cheese, which means that it's formed from the elastic curd of fresh milk, still warm and straight from the vat. Burrata is made of that same stringy cheese, but is formed not into a solid ball, but into a little hollow pouch, which is then filled with fresh cream and soft stringy bits of curd, the ritagli, or rags, remaining after mozzarella making. It's all tied off at the top, and then wrapped in the fronds of an Italian plant called asphodel (a relative of the leek).


Caviar, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, is a product made from salt-cured fish-eggs of the Acipenseridae family. The roe can be "fresh" (non-pasteurized) or pasteurized, with pasteurization reducing its culinary and economic value.

Traditionally the term caviar refers to roe from wild sturgeon in the Caspian and Black Seas (Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga caviars). Beluga caviar is prized for its soft, extremely large (pea-size) eggs. It can range in color from pale silver-gray to black. It is followed by the small golden sterlet caviar which is rare and was once reserved for Russian, Iranian and Austrian royalty. Next in quality is the medium-sized, gray to brownish osetra (ossetra), and the last in the quality ranking is smaller, gray sevruga caviar.

Over-fishing, smuggling and pollution caused by sewage entry into the Caspian Sea have considerably reduced the sea's sturgeon population leading to an official production suspension. This ban on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea has led to the development of aquaculture as an economically viable means of commercial caviar production.

Caviar is extremely perishable and must be kept refrigerated until consumption. Pasteurized caviar has a slightly different texture. It is less perishable and may not require refrigeration before opening.

Sturia caviar is produced in Aquitaine from Acipenseridae family sturgeons.

D.O.P Denominazione di origine controllata

"Controlled designation of origin" is a quality assurance label for Italian food products, especially wines and various cheeses (Denominazione di Origine Protetta). It is modelled after the French AOC. It was instituted in 1963 and overhauled in 1992 for compliance with the equivalent EU law on Protected Designation of Origin. This label grants the origin of traditional food products, grown in a specific "terroir" and fruit of a dedicated know-how. A.O.C label is a guarantee of quality.

Estate Oils (also known as Single Estate Oils)

Refers to oils that are obtained from olives grown on an individual farm. The olives are usually harvested by hand and the oil is pressed and bottled on site. Estate oils are among the best that are available and they are expensively priced. They are usually sold on site or in specialty shops and are stored and displayed away from excessive heat and bright light, which cause deterioration in the flavor and quality of the olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Extra virgin olive oils are produced from the first pressing, which is performed within 24 to 72 hours of harvesting. Mechanical or hand pressing are the only methods used to obtain extra virgin olive oil.

When purchasing a high quality, extra virgin olive oil, consider the following:

  • The quality and flavor will differ greatly between different brands. Some shops specializing in olive oil may offer samples to help you decide on a specific oil. Prices for a half liter of high quality extra virgin olive oil may range from $7 to $32, which is comparable to a bottle of wine. In order to be a bit more affordable, expensive olive oils can be purchased in smaller sizes and then used occasionally for salads or as a condiment.

  • When shopping for olive oil, keep in mind that the color of the oil depends on the type of olive and the degree of ripeness of the olive when it is harvested. An olive oil with a lighter green color may indicate that the olives were younger and were probably green or yellowish-green when picked. Some olive varieties produce a darker green oil when they are fully ripe. An olive oil with a yellow color may indicate that the olives where riper and had turned from green to blue, purple, or black.

  • When purchasing a single estate oil, the age of the olive oil is important. Look for the harvest date on the label and ask questions before buying. Olive oil does not improve with age, so any oil that is older than 1½ years should not be purchased.

  • The method of storing and displaying olive oil is important in order to avoid excessive heat and bright light, which causes olive oil to deteriorate. Olive oil that has been bottled in reactive metal containers such as copper or in plastic bottles, should not be purchased.

  • Other popular sources for purchasing high quality olive oils are mail order catalogs and the Internet. Many individual olive oil producers issue catalogs and/or have Web sites that allow consumers worldwide to purchase various products.

Kobe beef

No doubt you have heard of Champagne, that famous wine region in France, and the celebratory beverage that is made there. What you may also be aware of too, is that to use the name Champagne, the wine must be made in that highly specified region.

Not so with Beef. As a result, we hear the word Kobe used to describe all types of Wagyu. This is wrong. Kobe is a town within the Hyogo Prefecture, and is undeniably famous for its Wagyu beef. The bloodline is exclusively Tajima. However, only beef from the town Kobe should be called Kobe. Unfortunately, like Brie, Camembert and Cheddar in the cheese world, the name Kobe is not currently protected.


How to Score Wagyu for Marble Score

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M.O.F Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Meilleur Ouvrier de France is a prestigious title highly respected and recognized, granted only in France. Since 1924, every year a contest by corporation is organized by the French Ministry of Labour, a master piece is to be realized in a limited amount of time. Excellence, methodology, know-how, organization are the main criteria to select the winner. The winner will keep his title all his life long. The medals are handed-over in La Sorbonne followed by an official ceremony in Palais de l'Elysee in the presence of the French President. The French President is a MOF by honoris causa.

Herve Mons, our cheese affineur is a MOF.

Taggiasca olive

Small in size, this variety of olive is the main variety grown in the Ligurian region on the northwest coast of Italy. Also referred to as a Taggiasco or Tagiasco olive, the Taggiasca Olive provides a delicate flavor and a fruity aroma. Small and oval shaped, the Taggiasca Olive is typically harvested in January when it has a crimson to brown color. This olive is served as a snacking olive, an ingredient to pasta or various foods, and a popular olive for producing high quality oils.