Traditional food, European Union regulation, and economic competition
The Goethe-Institut Cyprus in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Cyprus cordially invite to the lecture by Gisela Welz (Goethe University, Frankfurt Germany) on the topic “Whose cheese is it anyway? - Traditional food, European Union regulation, and economic competition” in the exhibition hall of the Goethe-Institut in Nicosia (next to the old Palas Hotel) on September 19 2016 at 7.00 p.m.
This is not Cypriot halloumi.
In Cyprus, understandings of what constitutes local tradition, let alone national heritage, are always complicated by the history of the island. However, many food items traditionally produced and consumed in Cyprus are shared by all groups of the island's population, irrespective of their religion or language. For instance, halloumi - called hellim in Turkish - has been an element of the habitual diet of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island for centuries. Two years ago, the Republic of Cyprus applied to the EU for halloumi and hellim to be jointly awarded the “Protected Designation of Origin” as a unique food product. The application is still pending. In her lecture, German anthropologist Gisela Welz will take a closer look at the conflicts over market shares and authenticity claims that come up before and during the application process. Against the backdrop of her research, she warns that the traditional quality of halloumi is at risk, due to European Union regulatory interventions and heightened economic competition.
The event is supported by the Cyprus Food and Nutrition Museum.
Gisela Welz is a Professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. As a cultural anthropologist, she has been doing fieldwork in Cyprus since the 1990s. The debate over the proper ingredients of halloumi cheese is one of seven in-depth case studies of the cultural and natural heritage of Cyprus in her book “European Products. Making and Unmaking Heritage in Cyprus” (New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books 2015). Earlier this year, the book received the prestigious PROSE award as “best book in anthropology” published in the United States in 2015.
A reception will follow.