“I firmly believe in the emergence of small “food-ups” in our regions of France, led by a new generation, sensitive to the evolution and changes of our climate” Claude Sarda, founder of Abies Lagrimus – El dia before food innovations

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Claude Sarda, founder of Abies Lagrimus, can you tell us about your background and your brand? Son of a family of winegrowers from the Catalan Corbières (5th or 6th generation), in Vingrau. After a master’s degree in Economic Sciences at the University of Perpignan, I spent four years in Brussels, as assistant to the Export Director for Northern Europe of the main player in Roussillon wines from 1984 to 1989. Then I joined the Pyrenees Orientales to deal with selling and promoting Roussillon wines in France and around the world, for more than 20 years at the largest local cooperative winery, then at the largest wine estate. During this period I usually worked in Andorra, and it was there that I met a French chef 15 years ago who introduced me to the fir syrup of the Pyrenees. An ancestral and traditional recipe between France, Spain and Andorra, this unique syrup was made by only a few Elders. With many virtues in terms of Health-Wellness (it is loaded with essential oils, oleo-resin and polyphenols), and is mainly consumed in autumn and winter. Spruce syrup was also used in cooking and baking by some chefs. So, a unique and original product, which combines virtues and qualities to strengthen the body, and which also brings particular notes and flavors to the kitchen. By then he had already created two companies (one in communication, as well as the first non-smoking wine bar in Perpignan), and was looking for a new activity outside of wine. For a year, then, I looked at the possibilities of harvesting and producing syrup in our territory (Massís del Canigó) and after contacting the ONF and the Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees I created ABIES LAGRIMUS in July 2013. ABIES is spruce in Latin, and LAGRIMUS a combination of Catalan and Latin to mean “tears” since to produce our syrup, we extract sap and resin from pineapples harvested by hand in the high mountains. The small “food-up” of Canigó was launched, and from December 2013 we began to sell our syrup mainly to pharmacies in the eastern Pyrenees. At the same time, in a strategy of innovation and development, I began to build an original and unique gastronomic offer, creating collaborations with great schools such as Supagro Montpellier and Ensat de Tolosa. Little by little, other products have been arriving, such as: ACETIS, balsamic fir cream, Floral Pearls (Rosemary and Balsamic), ALTIAM Sweet Fruity and Extra Dry Fir Vinegars, Fir pepper (invention patent filed at the INPI), the two SOLIAM Spruce Oils (buds and cones), and for the chefs we offered our fresh and young spruce buds in the spring, then our dry buds throughout the year. Today I am very proud to see that our products are present both in pharmacies and organic shops, but also in delicatessens and, of course, in renowned and prominent chefs (but not only…) in France, Europe and even in Canada, Japan. and Hong Kong. In this way, we make our little sacred mountain of the Catalans, Canigó, shine in the distance. With four collaborators (among them three jobs created around our small gourmet valley of Conflent, at the foot of Canigó) and two interns in training (one from Communication and the other from R&D), we continue quietly our development with always the same process of valuing the natural resources of our territory according to a sustainable and responsible approach (we have been certified organic since 2015). And, of course, other ideas and other original projects are in preparation for this end of the year. Who do you think are the food players of tomorrow? I hope that tomorrow’s food actors will be aware of a sustainable approach, favoring if possible short circuits, but not only because, as we have shown, we can also make our products known in the 4 corners of the world. . the important thing is to offer a product with health qualities and virtues, but which also provides special flavors to surprise and enjoy. Of course we are in a niche, and we do not intend to “feed” a large number of people, but simply to bring pleasure and perhaps also to make our customers and consumers travel at a distance by bringing them along the perfumed paths of our Pyrenees. I firmly believe in the emergence of small “food-ups”, in our regions of France, led by a new generation, sensitive to the evolution and changes of our climate, to return to practices as our Great Ones did . How does your brand contribute to the mission of producing better food for as many people as possible? From the beginning of this adventure, what I liked about the Fir Syrup were both the qualities for the body, for strengthening the natural defenses, but associated with a product with a unique taste. Our elders understood this well, and had prepared an effective elixir to overcome the rigors of winter, but also tasty and fragrant to enhance everyday meals or desserts. We have continued on this path with the entire range and each of the products brings flavor and quality to the consumer, following the example of our Majors. Can you name some brands that you think are exemplary? It was a fruit, Chic des Plantes and Rue Traversette! More information at www.abieslagrimus.com. Comment on this information!
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