One of the few growers of an almost forgotten product , Belgian-grown tobacco, is about to take america by storm.
Vincent Manil is the owner and curator of the Semois Tobacco Museum in Corbion, a small village near Bouillon in the Ardennes, on the banks of the Semois River. He’s gone from being a small-scale tobacco grower and producer of artisanal pipe and rolling tobacco to an international sensation practically overnight, thanks to a lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine in April. Thanks to that attention, he now gets regular visits from American tourists looking for a rare tobacco the magazine called « pungent and delicate… rich and savoury ». The Semois area used to produce more tobacco, but nowadays there are only three producers left. But that was before a journalist’s chance encounter with the product (in a car in the Barolo region of Italy) awoke a whole new public. One of writer Wil S Hylton’s only complaints was that it is impossible to buy Semois tobacco online. That problem could soon be solved : Manil is now working with the Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency to overcome the technical difficulties in making that possible.