Swiss Agricultural Products: AOP/IGP Designations

The list of 30 Swiss agricultural products protected by the government includes cheese—which my son can’t safely eat—but what else appears on the list? I got my answer after (finally) reading a beautiful magazine about Switzerland’s La Semaine du Goût—a weeklong celebration of traditional Swiss foods (I attended Festin Neuchâtelois in September 2013 as part of this event).

To give you some background, the Swiss government uses two special designations for agricultural products other than wine:

  • Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP)” or Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
  • Indication Géographique Protégée” (IGP) or Protected Geographic Indication (PGI)

You may have seen similar designations for wine before (e.g., AOC), which means the product was prepared in a certain way and from a particular geographic region. Designations like the two listed above can be applied to other agricultural food products, such as cheese or sausage.


Pain de seigle valaisan AOP from Grimentz

The purpose of the AOP/IGP designation is both to protect consumers and the products. For consumers, the designation stands for a quality product produced in the traditional way. Also, this designation prohibits companies from using a traditional name for a protected food product, like Gruyère cheese, if they can’t meet certain production standards.

The complete list of Swiss AOP­/IGP products appears below (there’s also a map). I consider it one of my new “to-do” lists, as I personally want to try all of these foods. When I can, I’ll also share these products with my son—when they’re free of dairy, eggs (raw or undercooked) and almonds.

AOP Products

Spirits                                                                                              ­

Bread and cereals


Fruit, vegetables and spices

IGP Products**


Saucisse aux Choux Vaudoise IGP

As I discover allergy-friendly recipes using these products, I’ll continue to update this post. And as a reminder, please check labels every time to determine if any of these products contain or may contain ingredients you are currently avoiding because of food allergies.

*Not dairy-free, based on my initial research.
**“Café de Colombia” (coffee from Colombia) is the only non-Swiss product to appear on this list, and it has an IGP designation.

On Monday, I’m heading to Bern for an early morning festival. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Bon week-end!

Updated: June 17, 2014


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