The Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products is strongly committed to the enhancement of exceptional producers. It is achieving that through its annual contests. For products that do not fit within the frame of these contests, and for producers willing to get an AVPA recognition, it offers the opportunity to obtain a “AVPA Paris Gourmet Product” certification. A college of experts gather for this purpose. They verify that the products can be distinguished from an ordinary production through their taste originally, recipe and/or aspect, and reach a finesse and good length in mouth that make them memorable products with clearly described and traced components.
In January 2022, the jury met under the chairmanship of Jean-Emmanuel Jourde, the AVPA secretary. Several chefs and gastronomes, including Jessie Daniel, Professor at the École Supérieure of Perfumery ESP in Paris, were present. One product especially gained the attention of the jury: a vanilla from the island of São Tomé et Principe, situated in the Gulf of Guinea, whose reputation allowed us to hope for an exceptional tasting session.
The tasting did not go as planned! The flavour of the product was quite ordinary. The vanilla was even less flavoured than other vanillas purchased in supermarkets!
Jean-Emmanuel Jourde contacted the producer to announce him that his vanilla had not the necessary qualities to be certified “AVPA – Paris 2022 Gourmet Product.” The producer explained that the vanilla was sent in emergency for fear of being late for the jury. As a result, the fermentation, drying, maturation process was interrupted. This is likely why the tasting was not conclusive. The producer therefore offered to send another sample of a properly elaborated vanilla. This offer was accepted and, a few weeks later, a second vanilla from São Tomé was tasted by the same jury. It was compared to competing products from Madagascar and the Réunion. This time, the product turned out to be very flavoured and of very high quality: it thus obtained the certification “AVPA – Paris 2022 Gourmet Product.”
The producer can now display the quality label ““AVPA – Paris 2022 Gourmet Product” on his packaging, be listed in the directory of the AVPA-Paris Gourmet producers and products and be present on special terms, if he wishes, at the next “Gourmet selection” show (Paris – September 2022).