Fakes Englouvis: The delicious Greek lentils on their way to become PDO

Englouvi Lentils
Lentil fields on the island of Lefkada, Greece

They are said to be “the most delicious lentils in the world”. For those of us who had the privilege to taste the original product, this is true. Fakes Englouvis (Englouvi Lentils) is a unique Greek product produced on the Englouvi highland in Lefkada Island, at an altitude of more than 750 meters, have certain characteristics that make them special. Genetically speaking, due to the fact that the lentil is a self-fertile plant and its cultivation area in Englouvi is isolated, it has not suffered genetic erosion, resulting in the adaptation of the seed to the climatic conditions of the area and, by extension, stability, resistance to drought, natural enemies etc. Characteristics of the Englouvi lentil seed include a smooth surface and a less flattened shape than the seeds of other lentil varieties, while they have a particularly small size. The Englouvi lentil, or small-seeded lentil, heats up faster when being cooked than the medium or large varieties and this fact implies that its nutrients are better preserved.

In the Official Journal of the EU, on August 30, the application for the registration of Eglοuvi Lentils in the PDO-PGI Union Register as a product with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) was published. After the publication of the application begins a three-month period, during which any interested party will have the right to object to the registration, while after the completion of this period, and if there are no objections, it will be a matter of time before Fakes Englouvis are included in the PDO-PGI Union Register.

About the procedure

The application for registration in the PDO-PGI Union Register was submitted by the Group of Lefkada Island Lentil Producers in August 2020, initially to the Ministry of Rural Development, and then to the EU. With the recognition of Lentils as a PDO product, it is sought tackling the problem of counterfeiting in addition to the promotion of the product abroad and ensuring better prices and better visibility on the shelves.
Counterfeit is especially serious for Englouvi Lentils, as it is estimated that the amount of lentils sold in Greece each year as “Fakes Englouvis” is up to four times the actual production of the original product.

About the product

Nutritional characteristics: In terms of their chemical composition, the seeds of the “Englouvi Lentil” are rich in nutrients and with a high fat content (high nutritional value). Regarding the latter, it is noted that the fat superiority of Englouvi Lentils (average 1.8%) is evident compared to the corresponding prices of other lentils on the Greek market (average 0.9%) and the corresponding literature values (USDA 1 .1%).