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Taiwan vanilla products recognized by international institute

04/17/2024 10:21 PM
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CNA photo April 17, 2024
CNA photo April 17, 2024

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Vanilla products from Taiwan recently received the 2024 Superior Taste Award from the Brussels-based International Taste Institute, according to the Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station at a Wednesday press event.

The two products were "Organic Vanilla Beans" produced by Taoyuan-based Harmony Organic Agriculture Foundation (which received the honor for the second consecutive year) and "Vanilla Ville Vanilla Pods" produced by Pingtung County-based Linbian Natural and Culture Preservation Association.

Chen Chin-chao (陳錦超), who runs the Linbian Natural and Culture Preservation Association, said the company's profile increased after winning the award earlier this year, even prompting a call from Taiwanese master baker Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春).

In addition, according to Chen and Tseng Yu-Cheng (曾鈺誠), owner of the Harmony Organic Agriculture Foundation, both firms cooperate with photoelectric industries to generate power on their farmland.

Yeh Chih-hsin (葉志新), an associate researcher at the research unit under the Agricultural Ministry, said the station has studied vanilla planifolia cultivation and processing development for 15 years.

Photo courtesy of Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station April 17, 2024
Photo courtesy of Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station April 17, 2024

The Taiwanese vanilla pod products are very fragrant and sweet after being processed and extracted, with 50 percent higher their vanillin content than products from Madagascar, a globally-renowned vanilla producer, Yeh said.

Vanillin is the ingredient that gives vanilla its distinct aroma.

Vanilla pods typically cost US$150-300 per kilogram retail. In Taiwan, they are sold at NT$20,000-40,000 (US$616-1,232), Yeh said.

In the wake of promotional efforts by the station, Taiwan will produce around 10-12 tonnes of vanilla pods this year, with a total value of NT$200-400 million, Yeh added.

The International Taste Institute evaluates food products with a jury composed of professional chefs and sommeliers who judge according to criteria including first impression, vision, olfaction, taste and texture (for food) or final sensation (for drinks), said the institute website.

To win the Superior Taste Award products have to score over 90 percent, the institute said.

(By Yang Shu-min and Wu Kuan-hsien)

Enditem/AW

Photo courtesy of Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station April 17, 2024
Photo courtesy of Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station April 17, 2024
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