ONAF, the National Organization of Cheese Tasters, was set up in Cuneo in 1989 with the aim of proposing an organization - for the first time in Italy - which could promote the quality of Italian cheese to an ever-wider and increasingly well-prepared public through tastings.
Today ONAF’s activity focuses on the training of Cheese Tasters, through courses which have been held throughout Italy for many years in order to promote, disseminate, extend and harness the culture of cheese and dairy production in the light of the most advanced tasting methods and the consideration of dairy products as an expression of local traditions and contexts.
Taster training courses are held at three levels:
As of 31st December 2006, ONAF had around 1700 active members who had attended courses, including approximately four hundred Master Tasters. Since 1998 a roll of Ordinary Members has also been open in order to welcome into the Organization those who wish to join, even though they have not had the possibility to attend a level 1 course and have not therefore qualified as Tasters or Master Tasters.
The Association operates through a network of Delegations covering a large number of the Italian provinces. Furthermore, the Organization is also involved in co-operation on a European-wide level in studying tasting techniques, safeguarding products of excellence, and organizing leading events in the dairy world. It takes part in trade shows and events with the precise aim of promoting awareness of Italian Denomination of Origin and significant smaller-scale dairy products, using the tasting technique to highlight the properties that combine to bring out all the quality and essence of cheese.