“Reunion Island Vanilla” has been officially awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the European Commission.
Vanilla from Reunion Island, a French overseas region, recently received a highly coveted Protected Geographical Indication from the European Commission. The island’s vanilla, which comes in whole, processed pods (or beans) that have not been emptied of their seeds, “is distinguished by its finesse and sweetness,” the Commission commented. “The know-how developed by Reunionese producers is the guarantee of a high-quality product.”
“The fact that our product can now be identified as Reunion Island Vanilla PGI offers consumers traceability and guarantees a high-quality product”
- 1% of Worldwide Production
So there’s no longer any reason to worry about being confused with other products, particularly those sold as “Bourbon vanilla,” which include beans from Reunion Island, Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. “The sector needs support to keep Reunion Island vanilla from being confined to museums, but instead comes out and takes its rightful place,” he adds.
While worldwide vanilla production is approximately 2,500 tons, the 160 growers on the island produce less than 1% of that total. Most of their production is sold on the local market, particularly to tourists.
Reunion Island is the birthplace of commercial vanilla production. The pods grow on the vanilla orchid, but how to hand-pollinate the flowers, as well as the best way to process the beans were discovered there. An integral part of the landscape on the eastern side of the island, the geographical and climatic conditions (volcanic soils and sufficient rain) mean that the plant has been cultivated there for nearly 150 years.