Against the Evolution of Cheese; Place, History and Marketplace, a Case Study of AOC Designation in Etivaz, Switzerland

Emily C. Ritchie


This research addresses the topic of Geographical Indications (GI) in Switzerland, specifically for Etivaz cheese, asking what are the cultural values and the way of life associated with Etivaz cheese, and to what extent does the continued manufacture of that cheese depend on the AOC status that products achieved in the year 2000? GIs are one step towards reducing pressures due to global trade and they give farmers a chance to compete with industrial agriculture. An AOC cheese has to have strong ties to terroir, meaning it must be unique because of the region and its history. Etivaz easily qualifies as it is a publicly made good, that has been produced for many years in the same region where it is made today. The cheese appears to be slowly growing stronger and larger, two signs that it is a successful product. Etivaz’s AOC has helped preserve a culture that participates in the 21st century, but is not in Europe’s liberal mainstream. Success, and Etivaz’s dependency on AOC are difficult to measure, but the current situation is a good marriage between accepting innovation and keeping with tradition.


Cheese, Geographical Indications, Switzerland

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