Pistachio Growers Partner with Pastry Team USA

American Pistachio Growers (APG) is pleased to announce their gold-level sponsorship of Pastry Team USA that will be competing in the prestigious La Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie (The World Pastry Cup) scheduled to be held in Lyon, France in January, 2013.

USA Pastry Team (Photo: Business Wire)

This biannual event features teams representing 20 countries in what becomes an exhausting 10-hour competition where the world’s best chefs showcase their artistic skills in pastry, chocolate, sugar and ice cream creations. It is considered the greatest worldwide competition of this type, as few contests require the teamwork essential for victory in this event.

“While pistachios have become well recognized as a high-protein snack option, traditionally pistachios have been a desired delicacy and a valued ingredient in high-end pastries and confections,” says Judy Hirigoyen, APG’s director of global marketing. She continues, “We are elated with this opportunity to support the efforts of these world-class culinary professionals.”

Pastry Team USA is creating desserts that will include American pistachios. These professionals possess most discriminating palates and their competitions demand the highest quality, flavor-focused ingredients. Pistachios are often an ingredient of choice.

Certified Master Pastry Chef Gilles Renusson is president of Club Coupe du Monde USA and speaks to the qualities of pistachios in various desserts. “Pistachios bring color and brightness to a recipe that is very pleasing. They bring little pockets of tenderness to a recipe such as a crisp cookie or caramel brittle, they also make a smooth, sophisticated spread and are frequently used as a paste and filling in candies and cookies. When chopped, they are somewhat sweet and crunchy as in ice cream. As you can see, they are quite versatile.”

Chef Renusson adds, “Pistachios are considered more indulgent than other nuts.”

As an internationally-recognized pastry chef who was established in Europe for many years before coming to the United States, Renusson sees the participation of America’s top pastry chefs in this prestigious competition as helping to elevate not only our standards in the U.S., but proving that we can compete at a level consistent with the best of European traditions.

The three members of Pastry Team USA were selected following an exhaustive preliminary competition earlier this year, allowing themselves months to train and prepare for the 2013 event. Team members include Andy Chlebana, Pastry Chef and Professor, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL; Stephen Durfee, Pastry Chef Instructor, Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena, CA; Christophe Feyt, Pastry Chef, Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, NV; and Team USA alternate Roy Pell, Executive Pastry Chef, The Phoenician, Phoenix, AZ. Interested persons can follow Pastry Team USA on Facebook and Twitter.

“The United States is the #1 producer of pistachios worldwide since 2008. The 2012 harvested crop was a record-breaking 555,412,410 pounds. Thanks to state-of-the-art farming and processing technologies, American pistachios are considered the safest in the world and enjoy competitive pricing. The American crop is projected to double in size in the next five to seven years, so American Pistachio Growers has taken the initiative to introduce their product into food service and further processed products such as pistachio paste,” says Hirigoyen, whose stated goal is to see American-grown pistachios on menus and in industrial use world-wide.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack that contains just 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 13 grams of fat per serving, the majority of which comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. A one-ounce serving of pistachios equals 49 nuts, which is more nuts per serving than any other snack nut. One serving has as much potassium (300 mg, 8 percent) as an orange (250 mg, 7 percent) along with 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber making it a nutritious snack choice or ingredient to incorporate into daily diets.

Earlier this year select pistachios grown and marketed by members of American Pistachio Growers received certification to carry the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark* on packaging and promotional materials. This includes roasted and salted pistachio kernels, roasted and unsalted pistachio kernels, roasted and salted pistachios in the shell and roasted, unsalted pistachios in the shell. All certified nuts, including salted varieties, must meet the American Heart Association’s nutritional criteria which include a limit of 140 mg or less of sodium per label serving size.