Mantiqueira de Minas, characterized in 2020 by the State Government as artisanal cheese producer was the most prominent region in the ExpoQueijo Brasil 2023 International Competition, held in Araxá, in Alto Paranaíba, in August.
According to a survey released this Sunday (3), of the 22 gold medals that the state won in 50 competition categories , producers in the region reached seven. These numbers represent 14% of the total number of first places and 31% of the miners at the top.
The competition evaluated 1,300 cheese samples from ten countries. Among the medalists from Minas Gerais, considering the first, second and third positions, 20% are from the Mantiqueira mountains, which corresponds to 14 out of 70 awards. The region was characterized as producer of Artisanal Cheese from Mantiqueira de Minas in 2020 , through an IMA ordinance. Emater-MG estimates that annual production is approximately 830 tons, generating more than R$40 million per year, which complement or are the main source of income for approximately 150 families.
“It is a cheese whose cultural heritage refers to the way of making Parmigiano Reggiano cheese , traditional among people of Italian origin, as shown by a study carried out by Emater-MG. Its characteristics are its straw-yellow color, smooth skin and compact mass with small holes. The strong and salty flavor becomes more pronounced when matured”, describes the director of Agroindustry and Cooperatives, Ranier Chaves Figueiredo. In total, nine municipalities make up the characterized region: Aiuruoca, Baependi, Bocaina de Minas, Carvalhos, Itamonte, Itanhandu, Liberdade, Passa-Quatro and Pouso Alto. Since identified, Mantiqueira’s product has obtained several competitive advantages on the shelves.
“From the moment it was characterized, the cheese began to have greater visibility, began to participate in competitions and win many prizes, it was a big difference in terms of valuing the regional product. But more than that, with the creation of legislation, the products were able to fit into a municipal, state or federal sanitary qualification system, being sold and transported safely”, says Emater-MG extensionist Julio Cesar Fleming, who operates in the region.
O ExpoQueijo Brasil International Artisan Cheese Competition It has been taking place since 2021. In an unprecedented way in the country, the curation in 2023 was entirely Brazilian, carried out by the Cândido Tostes Dairy Institute, linked to Epamig. More than 200 jurors were trained by the institution to evaluate the 1,300 competing samples. In the edition, 150 medals were distributed, of which the miners won 70, 22 of which were first places. In 2022, cheese producers from Minas achieved 54 of the 96 awards in the global dispute. Of the state’s victories, 19 were gold. And, in the first year of the competition, there were 111 medalists in total, with 63 winners from Minas Gerais, ten of them at the forefront of the categories in which they competed.
The event is held by Bonare Eventos and the State Government, with several partners. This year, among the organizers were the Federal Superintendency of Agriculture of Minas Gerais of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa), the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), the Faemg System, the Ocemg System, the City Hall of Araxá, associations of cheese producers and institutions that promote agribusiness.
Edited by Raquel Cintra Pryzant
Source: CNN Brasil
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