Fraternal organizations, tradesmen guilds, and associations at the turn of the century in Europe gave producers and workers spaces to meet with fellow colleagues. They opened the possibility to make connections and get advice from men working on the same industry. Organizations like these proliferated and many established apprenticeships and eventually some of them created certifications to ensure only those working with the group worked in an industry.
Since then, many have disappeared and evolved in many ways. First relaxing membership rules, including the acceptance of women and foreigners. While others became charitable organizations working alongside faith-based organization.
In the cheese industry, there are many organizations, which recognize the work and merit of people working in the industry, or protecting and promoting specific cheeses. The Confrérie du Gruyère is the foremost Swiss organization for people in the promotion of Le Gruyère AOP. This organization has existed since 1981 and in 2016 held its first ceremony in the US.
During this ceremony, the Confrérie du Gruyère inducted 43 new members, mostly from the Americas, including cheese advocates, retailers, distributors, and importers working in Canada, the US, and Mexico. To find out more about this organization and to find more about what makes Le Gruyère AOP so special visit their website.
Carlos Yescas- Oldways Cheese Coalition Program Director