What was the Pesto Confraternity?

Woodland

Short answer
The Pesto Confraternity (or The Order of the Knights of the Confraternity of Pesto to give it its full, catchy name) was created in 1992 by a group of Ligurian business people to act as advocates for classic basil pesto, their region's greatest treasure.

Long answer
We can't help but think of Dead Poet's Society when we mention the bombastically named group known locally know as L'Ordine dei Cavalieri della Confraternita del Pesto. Was this some clandestine group that met under the cover of darkness to summon the spirits of Italian nonnas from years gone past and ask for their blessing for the year's basil harvest?

Sadly, the reality is a little more mundane. Trademarked on May 20th 1992 by a collection of Ligurian gourmets and basil producers, the group's mission was to advocate for traditional basil pesto - the region's greatest and proudest asset. They ultimately wanted to shield their beloved sauce from the multinational companies who they saw as cashing in on the very name "pesto".

It was a worthy cause for sure, and there's little doubt that their influence helped the region win the highest honour, to have their world-class basil granted protected designation of origin (PDO) status. That puts their revered herb alongside Champagne, Stilton and Watercress in having their regional product protected from imposters who attempt to profiteer off inferior or cheaper copycat products.