The Irish government has begun the formal process to seek EU recognition of the unique characteristics of the Waterford 'Blaa' - the simple, but special, bread roll/bap that is associated with Waterford City.
|The Waterford Blaa|
Minister Simon Coveney launched a national consultation process on the application of the “Waterford Blaa” for registration as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). On completion of the national consultation the application will be forwarded to the European Commission for review. Granting of this intellectual property protection to "Waterford Blaa" would mean that producers of the product within the specified region only could use this name.
|Bakers from the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association|
Minister Coveney said "The publishing of the specification document follows a period of engagement between the producer group in Waterford (Waterford Blaa Bakers Association) and my Department."
He went on to say, "It is important that we take advantage of the EU Quality Products Scheme; to date Ireland has not sufficiently exploited this opportunity, this is a positive step forward, I would encourage producers of regional products to discuss possible applications with my Department".
“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” is a soft doughy white bread roll clearly identified by the white floury top on the product. Unlike other products in this category Waterford Blaa contains no enrichment and is made from preservative free strong bakers flour, table salt, compressed yeast, dough conditioner and water only.
The bread has the following characteristics:
“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” can be round or square. They are made both crusty and soft are pined out round and trayed up round but the batch together as they expand during baking, when they are pulled apart they are square shaped but their domed top gives them a round appearance.
“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” is 3-4.5cm high with a diameter of 8-12cm and weighs 40-65g.
“Waterford Blaa” / “Blaa” may be presented in two different ways:
Rustic square, or round shape of bread with a dome shaped, crusty top dusted with flour. Crunchy at first bite, then chewy with a subtle malt taste and a pleasing bitter aftertaste from the well cooked, dark crust.
Soft, well-defined square, oval or round shape of bread, pale in colour and heavily dusted with flour. Slightly sweet, malt flavour, light but firm in texture and melts in the mouth.
The geographical area that applies to this application is described as Waterford city and county and an area of south Co. Kilkenny as outlined in the map.
|The Blaa can only be made withing the area marked on the map|
The geographical area is restricted to the geographical area known as all of County Waterford and that part of South County Kilkenny, which directly adjoins County Waterford made up of the Ullid and Dunkitt electoral divisions which is part of the southern Piltown electoral area The river Blackwater runs through the area and includes the town-lands of Dangan, Narabawn, Moolum, Newtown, Skeard, Greenvilleand and Ullid.
You can read the actual Technical Specification Document for the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI status) of the Waterford Blaa HERE.
The PGI scheme protects particular product names that are linked to a particular territory or to a production method. The products themselves do not have to be unique, yet the applications must show how the characteristics of the region - topographic, reputation, natural resources - have an impact on the characteristics of the product.
|A Lamb burger on Waterford blaa topped with sweet cherry toms & dressing from Eden Restaurant, Dublin, who get their Blaas delivered from Waterford every day. pic via @MarkMatanes|
The requirements for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) are:
- The product/foodstuff originates from the defined geographical area
- Possess a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to the defined geographic area
- At least one stage of production, processing and preparation of the agricultural product or foodstuff takes place within the defined geographical area.
UPDATE - NOVEMBER 19th 2013
After over two years of consultation, the Waterford Blaa/The Blaa has, this week, received Protected Geographical Indication (PGI status) and is now a "protected food species". The Blaa was one of five new quality farm products added to the European Register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI), this week.
The other foods indocturned into this European Food Hall of Fame were for a French goat’s cheese Rigotte de Condrieu (PDO); Italian cheeses Puzzone di Moena/Spretz Tzaorì (PDO) and Pecorino di Picinisco (PDO) and for a Slovenian soft cheese Mohant (PDO).
Congratulations ans well done to the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association and the Department of Agriculture in their long struggle to get recognition for this unique bread product.