Seychelles: La Cocofesse - Brandy Made From World's Largest Nut Debuts in Seychelles

A new brandy made from the Seychelles' unique coco de mer, the world's biggest nut, is now available in Victoria, the capital, at a newly opened restaurant.

'La Cocofesse' is the brainchild of Seychellois businessman Wilson Nancy. It was officially launched recently at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz jetty in the northern Mahe district of Belombre.

The brandy will be sold exclusively at the Rendez Vous restaurant in Victoria at Quincy Street and the Duty-Free shop at the Seychelles International airport. The price has not been decided yet.

Like the mysterious coco de mer, the brandy's taste remains a mystery and will vary by experience.

"The most important part of the liquor is the taste and how it can be savoured," said Nancy.

The key ingredient that makes 'La Cocofesse' brandy unique is, of course, the coco de mer, which "further makes the drink exotic and deserving of high-class recognition," added Nancy.

The Lodoicea, commonly known as coco de mer, is the world's biggest nut and is endemic to Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

The idea for the brandy, which is processed locally by Willow Ventures, was part of an obligation within the business plan of the company tendered last year with the authorities.

"As part of the plan the company had to produce other products with the coco de mer aside from using the nut to sell to tourists. The kernel was also being exported to mostly Asian countries," said Nancy.

The production of the liquor, which contains 40 percent alcohol, comes after the Seychelles' government approved the exportation of the coco de mer kernel as a value-added product. Willow Ventures is one of the three local companies chosen to process the kernel.

Neesha Kumar, who tasted the newly launched 'La Cocofesse' brandy told SNA that the liquor is very refined and tasteful.

"It does not really taste like coco de mer, but rather like vanilla. It will be the best product to represent our country internationally. Now that Christmas is around the corner, it can also serve as a nice gift," said Kumar.

As most of the authentic products in Seychelles, there is a story about how it all began.

"At first we wanted to produce the drink following the process of fermentation just like producing rum. After one year of experimenting with the method, we saw that the outcome was not stable as it kept on fermenting. We couldn't put a product in a bottle that we did not have control over," said Nancy.

The producer had no other choice but to seek the help of South African experts Kobus Gelderblom to turn the product to one of the best liquors in the island nation.

"When Nancy first approached me with the idea, I knew nothing about Seychelles and even so the great coco de mer. After learning about it all, I realised that we would make a great product out of it - and we made just that by coming up with a refined brandy," said Gelderblom.

Special attention was placed on the packaging and branding of the product with all items being sourced from Seychelles.

The next project for Willow Ventures is an ice-cream made out of coco de mer.

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