This is recognition given by the Municipality of Milan to gastronomic products connected with the tradition and identity of the city that have the ability to communicate both of these aspects throughout the world. De.co, or to be more precise, the “Denominazioni comunali”, is a mark that the Municipality of Milan has instituted to identify great cuisine classics, such as the “cotoletta alla milanese” (veal cutlet in breadcrumbs), “ossobuco”, “risotto”, “cassoeula” (typical winter dish) and “minestrone”, but also plates that have almost become extinct, such as rostin negà (literally “drowned roast”), “mondeghili” (Milanese meatballs) and barbajada (a sweet coffee drink). Along with these, there are other products that, over time, have become part of the patrimony of the national cuisine, like the light and crunchy, characteristic Milanese bread “michetta” and “panettone” (sweet bread), that is still one of the symbols of the city.
Milan couldn’t help but be the first city to create a real system of recognition of quality and culinary tradition. Its talent for seeking out, protecting and diffusing local specialties was already alive in the markets and in the squares of the medieval period and was consolidated at the beginning of the 20th century. At the time, Milan was already a large hub of exchange of culinary specialties that, beginning in the 1930s, encouraged the pioneers of gastronomy to research the origin of flavour in the territory of Milan. The Italian specialties left their mark in the Guida Gastronomica del Touring (Touring Club Gastronomic Guide) in 1931, in which the number of potential De.co items reached one thousand. The first selection was approved in 2007 and the second the year after.