January 10/Fresno, Calif./Business Wire -- American Pistachio Growers (APG) announced its 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.

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.”

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 U.S., Renusson sees the participation of America’s top pastry chefs in this prestigious competition as helping to elevate not only standards in the U.S., but proving that the country 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.