Signature ingredients in the chocolate and vanilla sectors offer bakeries and patisseries the unique opportunity to stand apart from the competition and appeal to consumers in unique manners.

One such example comes directly from Valrhona Selection, which continues to bring the best ingredients to pastry professionals. The company introduces Norohy, its first-ever organic vanilla bean, now available in the U.S. and Canada following a successful first launch in Europe. Norohy represents the highest in quality and traceability, as well as the brand’s commitment to making the vanilla industry more ethical, responsible, and respectful of both people and the planet.

Madagascar is a choice terroir for growing the world’s finest vanillas. In addition to a warm, humid climate, the island’s northeastern regions boast a soil that is rich with organic matter, making it ideal for growing vanilla plants. Norohy partners with organic farmers to purchase unprocessed green vanilla beans harvested straight from producers in two specific regions, Maroantsetra and Mananara, in order to ensure quality and traceability. Norohy’s vanilla beans are organic, not only out of a desire for a certification that would reflect its ethical commitments, but also to trace every bean right back to individual planters and raise producers’ awareness of environmental and horticultural issues around managing plantations.

After being harvested and selected, the beans are then processed and refined using traditional techniques. It takes over six months for these black non-split vanilla beans to attain their excellent quality, and they are monitored with the utmost care throughout every step in the process. Traditional skills are used to sort beans into similarly sized bunches and bind them with raffia. Norohy is the only vanilla brand which packages its vanilla on-site in Madagascar in order to ensure the local community benefits from as much of the value chain as possible.

New leadership at Godiva

Nurtac Afridi has been named interim chief executive officer of Godiva Chocolatier, a business owned by Istanbul, Turkey-based Yildiz Holding, following the departure of its current leader Annie Young-Scrivner at the end of November to pursue another opportunity. Afridi is a board member of Godiva and chief strategy and growth officer of Yildiz Holding.

Young-Scrivner, a former Starbucks executive, led the premium chocolate brand during the past three years.

“Annie has made significant contributions to Godiva during her tenure, like building an exceptional executive committee who will continue their work to make Godiva the world’s most beloved and accessible premium chocolate company,” Afridi says. “We thank Annie for her vision, leadership, and passion and we wish her the very best in her new role.”

Afridi joined Yildiz Holding in 2006 as general manager of corporate strategy and later advanced to the role of head of mergers and acquisitions and business development. She was named to her current role in 2016, assuming responsibility for identifying growth opportunities in new markets, categories and channels through acquisitions, strategic partnerships, investments and restructuring at Yildiz Holding, which also owns brands including McVitie’s and Ulker.

“At Godiva, we have nearly 95 years of craftsmanship and premium chocolate expertise,” Afridi says. “The exceptional quality of our products reflects this rich and beautiful heritage, dedication to innovation, and commitment to using the finest ingredients. I’m delighted and inspired to lead such an incredible brand and to work with this terrific team to ensure we continue extending our reach and leveraging our various channels to deliver on our brand's purpose — to open people’s eyes to a more wonderful world. I look forward to working with the team to expand our omnichannel business, continue putting digital at the center of all that we do, grow in key geographies