Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Cheese By Any Other Name...

As champagne is to France, now, parmesan is to Italy. According to a ruling by the European Court of Justice today, only the cheese made for the last 800 years near the city of Parma can legally be called ‘parmesan’. The case dates back to 2003 when the court criticized Germany for allowing the sale of imitation parmesan in violation of the European Union food origin rules. Parmigiano Reggiano and the very similar Grana Padano are the two most imitated Italian products in the world. The ruling echoes an earlier case against Danish producers, stating that ‘feta’ can only come from Greece. There was no punishment for Germany, but they will have to change the name. The court left it up to Italy to monitor any illegal use of the brand and report any violators to the authorities. "Fretta, chiamare il formaggio di polizia!!!" - DH

Monday, February 25, 2008

International Oscars

While the critics heap their praise on the all-too-American best picture winner, No Country For Old Men, and the entertainment programs focus their attention on what people were wearing, let's take a step back and notice that this was truly an ‘International Oscars’. One needs look no further than the acting categories to see that not a single American won an award. Marion Cotillard is French, Javier Bardem is Spanish and Daniel Day-Lewis & Tilda Swinton are British (and both won for playing Americans). Though the major directing and writing awards went to Americans, best art/set direction went to Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo of Italy; best costume design went to Alexandra Byrne of the UK; best makeup went to Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald of France; best musical score by Dario Marianelli of Italy; and, my personal favorite, best song went to Glen Hansard of Ireland and Marketa Irglova of the Czech Republic from the film, Once. Also, both best short films are international. Peter and the Wolf won for animation (UK) and Le Mozart des Pickpockets won for live action (France). The Golden Globes may be hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press, but it looks like the Oscars are truly the global awards ceremony. - DH