Lasting Legacy

Slideshow: The families behind your favorite food and drink

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Do you eat to live or live to eat? For those fond of the finer things in life – from a sparkling glass of Champagne to a creamy clotted cream – CNBC's Lasting Legacy takes a look at family firms who have been producing world-class food and drink for decades.

Billecart-Salmon

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France's world famous Champagne region is synonymous with the sparkling wine produced in its vineyards, and the family owned Billecart-Salmon house has been around since 1818.

Today, sixth-generation Francois and Antoine Roland-Billecart are at the helm of the business.

Billecart-Salmon's 1959 vintage was voted "Champagne of the Millennium" by a panel of experts after a blind tasting, with the 1961 vintage coming in second place.

D.G. Yuengling & Son

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The "oldest brewery in America", D. G. Yuengling & Son traces its roots to 1829, when David G. Yuengling founded the Eagle Brewery in Pottsvile, Pennsylvania.

The business has been family owned and operated ever since, with fifth generation Dick Yuengling Jr. now in the role of president and owner.

His four daughters also work full-time for the brewery, which now operates breweries in Pennsylvania and Florida.

Adaptability has been key to the business throughout its history: during the prohibition era, it switched to producing "near-beer" products and also built a dairy and began making ice cream.

A.E. Rodda & Son

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The Rodda family has been producing Cornish clotted cream since 1890, when Eliza Jane and Thomas Rodda began making it in their Cornwall, England home.

Today, Managing Director Nicholas Rodda represents the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the business, which now produces everything from Cornish clotted cream to butter and creme fraiche.

Clotted cream - a vital part of any English cream tea with scones and jam - is made by scooping the "clots" of cream off the surface of heated full-fat milk.

The company's clotted cream has gone on to be enjoyed around the world, and was used at the wedding breakfast of Charles and Diana in 1981.

Illy

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Illy was founded in 1933 in the port city of Trieste, Italy, by Hungarian born Francesco Illy, who developed the Illetta espresso machine and used pressurization techniques to preserve the taste and aroma of packaged coffee.

Today, the business – whose chairman is Andrea Illy, who has been around the business since he was a child – is a global concern, with illy coffee now available in 140 countries and served in over 100,000 restaurants and cafes around the world.

Ferrero SpA

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Ferrero was founded in Alba, Italy, in 1946 by Pietro Ferrero. In 1950 Michele Ferrero assumed control of the confectionery company along with his uncle and mother, and a period of steady expansion followed, with factories opening in Europe.

World famous Ferrero brands include Nutella, Kinder and Tic Tac. Today the Ferrero Group employs more than 34,000 permanent and temporary workers and sells its products in over 160 countries.

Ferrero is now run by Giovanni Ferrero, Michele's son, with the company saying it "is a structure based on solid family values."

Dewlay Cheesemakers

Dewlay Cheesemakers

The Kenyon family has been in the business of cheese since 1957, when George Kenyon founded Dewlay Cheesemakers in Lancashire, England.

Today, Nick and Richard Kenyon are the third generation of their family to be running the business, who still use the production methods their father and grandfather used.

Their cheeses have won multiple awards, and their Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire cheese holds a "protected designation of origin" status, signifying production in a distinct geographical area "using recognized know-how."

Pictured here is Neil Kenyon, second generation cheesemaker and late father of Nick and Richard.

The Roux family

Anglo-French chefs Michel Roux Jr, (L) Michel Roux OBE (C) and Albert Roux OBE (R) speak during the finals of the 'Roux Scholarship' competition in 2009.
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When it comes to fine dining and exceptional service, you'd be hard pressed to match the Roux family in terms of pedigree.

In 1967, brothers Michel and Albert opened Le Gavroche in London, followed by the Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, U.K.

Both restaurants have gone on to achieve legendary status: Today, Le Gavroche is the holder of two prestigious Michelin stars, while the Waterside Inn is in possession of three.

The family link runs deep through both restaurants. Albert's son, Michel Roux Jr., heads up Le Gavroche while Michel's cousin Alain – Michel Roux Sr.'s son – is chef-patron at the Waterside Inn.