French confectioners turn bitter over the sweet of Calisson

Chinese firm hogging the limelight over French sweet


November 18, 2016

/ By / New Delhi

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Some French confectioners are battling it out with a Chinese company which trademarked its name for the traditional French sweet-dish, Calisson.

A French candy, Calissons d’Aix has been eyed by a Shanghai-based firm Ye Chunlin, which trademarked the Gallic product as their own.

Yellow in colour, melon in flavour, the Calissons d’Aix are almond-shaped fruity treats popularly consumed in France and are a speciality in Provence. They have also had a protected status in France since 1991. A special status like this makes all confectioners in France follow a defined method to prepare the candy. However, the adaptability of this method is limited to confectioners only in France.

So, the international firms imitating the Gallic sweet-dish are making it in a different manner and are facing an opposition from French Union des Fabricants des Calissons (Union of Calisson makers) in Aix.

The French confectioners have applied for an EU designation, the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) to stop the foreign firms from trade-marking the Calissons d’Aix. They wanted global rights over the sweet-dish and have invested their time explaining and debating over the “official” ingredients.

In a smarter move, before entering the market, Ye Chunlin filed its claim with the Chinese intellectual property agency, Sipo, thus firing up the fight over the product including its rights and how it is made.

As a counter-action, French confectioners are now hoping to block the move via a counter-claim with Sipo.

On the other hand, some historians are pondering over the exact origin of the much sought after sweet-dish which is believed to be a medieval almond cake originally but are traditionally associated with the town of Aix-en-Provence.

Popular French Calissons manufacturer Le Roy Rene, which started the confection business in the heart of Aix-en-Provence, proudly proclaims that Calisons is a candy which has crossed the history of the south of France, as mentioned on their website. But, the legendary Calissons manufacturer is dreading the negative impact they may face from a Chinese product which could be priced lower than their home-made candy-box.

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