Dining

Mexico’s Most Famous Denomination of Origin Products

Mexico produces a bounty of iconic and amazing products that come from its rich land and from its talented artisans that are steeped in tradition and ancestral methods. Among the most recognized around the world items we know and love are cocoa, tequila, Talavera pottery and, the ever important, coffee. These are just a few examples of world-famous products that have been given the esteemed “denomination of origin” classification.

Today “Made in Mexico” is coming into the spotlight and taking on a new level of importance in order to strengthen the nation’s industries. Mexico produces a bounty of iconic and amazing products that come from its rich land and from its talented artisans that are steeped in tradition and ancestral methods. Among the most recognized around the world items we know and love are cocoa, tequila, Talavera pottery and, the ever important, coffee. These are just a few examples of world-famous products that have been given the esteemed “denomination of origin” classification.

Roquefort cheese from France, Parma ham from Italy, a sparkling wine made in the French region of Champagne and Peruvian pisco – these are all famous products with the denomination of origin. When we see these products, we instantly associate them with where they came from. Just like the cacao plant, endemic to Mexico, is the base for the most amazing chocolate in the world. What would we have ever done without Mexico’s most prized contribution?

The products of Mexico have historical roots that go back to pre-Hispanic and Aztec culture. The ancestral ingredients (like the decadent Vanilla de Papantla) and products of Mexico’s rich land (like the ever so sweet Mango Ataúlfo) have put Mexico on the international gastronomic map and are considered national treasures both in Mexico and around the world.

Mexico has shared many of its original products with the world, but those that have been given the denomination of origin – “the distinctive sign by which a product characteristic of a region is recognized” – by Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) automatically falls under the care of the Mexican government. The IMPI is “the highest administrative authority in industrial property matters in Mexico, competent to issue declarations of protection of appellations of origin and authorize their use, as well as process and, if necessary, grant trademark registrations, among other powers.”

By granting a denomination of origin, the aim is to promote the production and conservation of local products and train the workforce in the production, which in turn will teach these techniques to new generations and help develop viable technologies for sustainable production for generations to come.

With the revised Treaty between the United States, Mexico and Canada (TMEC) for free trade which was implemented in July 2020, a renewed importance has been placed on growing the “Made in Mexico” industries to be more competitive and strengthen the national industry by promoting the denomination of origin products and, thus, contributing to economic recovery and growth.

Supporting products with denomination of origin is the best way to support Mexico and everything that emerges from its generous land and talented artisans.

What is a Denomination of Origin?

Denomination of origin protects the natural and cultural heritage of a country. It is a legal distinction awarded by Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property for products or processes (either natural or manufactured) with an unrivaled quality and unique characteristics that are made in Mexico.

Denominations of origin are not obtained or granted by decree or by any authority, they exist only because of factual situations; that is to say, first they are used, they are famous and recognized by the public that consumes them, and later, they are protected by means of the corresponding declaration.

Three requirements must be met to be awarded a declaration of this type:

a) The denomination of origin must be directly related to or produced by the name of a place or geographical region of Mexico;

b) The name designates a product originating in the geographical region where it is produced;

c) The product has special characteristics and qualities resulting exclusively from the specific area that can’t be found anywhere else, including natural and human factors.

Everything Mexican: Tequila therapy, Chiapas Amber, and Thank Goodness for Cocoa!

For foodies who want to dive into authentic experiences when traveling through Mexico, you’ll definitely want to sample the most celebrated and traditional local ingredients and products to get a real local’s experience. Some of these you can get at home (at a more costly price point), but nothing beats trying them on their home turf where they originated and are produced right for the most authentic experience. After sampling the local favorites, tequila or mezcal, you can do some shopping for the famed Chiapas Amber and Talavera pottery.

In the case of Mexico, 17 products have this distinction of denomination of origin.

The first, and most popular, designation of origin to be granted was for Tequila in 1974. Tequila, a liquor brewed from the Agave plant, is one of Mexico’s most iconic products, known and celebrated the world over.

Chiapas Amber is a fossilized resin produced by the guapinol tree. It has been extracted from caves since the pre-Hispanic era. This type of amber comes as transparent and in beautiful hues of yellow, red, and maroon. It is widely used to create finely crafted artisan jewelry and crafts, a great souvenir to gift yourself or a loved one.

Morelos Rice is grown in the area of Zacatepec in the state of Morelos, which is the largest producer of grain in Mexico and is the only state awarded with a denomination of origin for its rice. Due to the climate where it is grown, its unique profile has contributed to the fact that, as a cereal, it doesn’t get mushy easily. It’s widely exported to many countries such as Germany, USA, and France.

Papantla Vanilla is regarded as the finest vanilla both near and far, found in the most prestigious kitchens around the world. Given that ancient Aztec Totonac techniques are still used in its production to create the most amazing flavor, it’s no wonder that three-quarters of the total production of Papantla vanilla is exported since it is considered to be the best in the world. The states of Puebla and Veracruz hold the denomination of origin prize of being the only states in Mexico with this highly esteemed honor.

The mouthwatering Ataulfo Mango is the best variety of mango in Mexico. Also known as the Champagne Mango, the name says it all. Predominantly grown in the Soconuso region in the Mexican state of Chiapas, the Ataulfo Mango’s sweetness and texture is at the top of the list. If you are lucky enough to be in Mexico during mango season from late February to early August, you’ll have the chance to indulge in these beauties. Thus far, 13 states have their denomination of origin throughout Central and Southern Mexico. If you are in Canada or the United States, you are in luck because the Ataulfo Mangoes are also exported there.

Grijalva Cacao (cocoa) is highly sought after and renowned worldwide for its robust and complex flavor which gives chocolate its signature delicious taste. It grows in the lush, humid, and tropical jungles of Tabasco, which gives the cacao its unique aroma, consistency, and taste.

The following are other products of denomination of origin in Mexico: the popular liquors of mezcal, Sotol and Charanda as well as cod, coffee from Veracruz and Chiapas, the famed spicy Habanero Chili from the Yucatan peninsula, Olinalá from Guerrero, Talavera ceramics from Puebla, and Chile from Yahualica.

We love that “Made in Mexico” is a campaign that supports history and tradition to keep the culinary ingredients and products as well as artisan handicrafts “de la gente” – of the people – in Mexico going strong while sharing it with the world to build a stronger and more stable economy.

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