6 Feb 2013

Black Forest gateau region says ‘danke’ to Europe

Black Forest gateau is the latest produce to be given “protected” status by Europe, meaning that only cake made from the cherries grown in the German region can carry the name.

Black Forest gateau (Getty)

It is a lengthy, somewhat bureacratic European process, but for those in Germany’s Baden-W├╝rttemberg region it has been worth the wait.

Their most famous export, which takes its name in German – schwarzwalder Kirschtorte – from the kirsch from cherries grown in the Black Forest, will now be protected from cheaper imitations, of which there have been many.

Black Forest gateau now joins around 50 British products including the Cornish pasty, Dorset Blue and Scotch beef protected under European law.

What does protected status mean?
In 1993 EU legislation came into force which provides for a system for the protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis.
The scheme highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed. Under this system a named food or drink registered at a European level will be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.

Producers who register their products for protection benefit from having a raised awareness of their product throughout Europe. This may in turn help them take advantage of consumers' increasing awareness of the importance of regional and speciality foods.

While Black Forest gateau was commonplace in the seventies, its popularity has faded in more recent times.

Laura Amos, who runs the Dessert Deli in south London, had Black Forest gateau, made using Black Forest kirsch, on her menu last year.

She told Channel 4 News the cost of making it authentically under the new rules could put people off: “You can buy the cherries anywhere but they’re very expensive.

“Sometimes it’s not easy for people to spend that much so it could die out.”