Vlaai high: Limburg fruit pie aims for EU protected status at last

Photo: Els Diederen via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Els Diederen via Wikimedia Commons

The Netherlands is petitioning the European Commission for the inclusion of the Limburgse vlaai in the European list of protected regional products.

The vlaai has to be made in Dutch or Belgian Limburg, contain specific ingredients, must be sold on the same day and cannot be frozen. Its typical fruity filling (fresh or frozen) does not have to come from the region.

The ‘fresh, golden brown, round base must have a diameter of at least 10 cm and no more than 30 cm’, the description in the Staatscourant reads.

It’s not the first time efforts have been made to get the vlaai on the list of protected geographical indications (PGI). In 2016, some vlaai makers said they did not support an official denomination because the product might become more expensive to make and some types of vlaai could no longer be called ‘Limburgs’

Others said they backed protected status because it would ensure quality.

Althought the fruit pie is certainly traditional – a first mention dates back to the 12th century, its origins are thought to lie further afield, in Germany, Switzerland and other parts of Belgium.

If the European Commission decides to include the vlaai it will be joining eight Dutch cheeses, two species of potato, a type of grape, a type of sugar, white asparagus, herring and a syrup on the protected list.

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