Vanilla is a flavoring derived from the fruits of the Vanilla orchid, a native plant of Mexico. Only vanilla originating from Indian Ocean islands such as Madagascar, the Comoros, and Reunion [formerly the Ile de Bourbon] can call itself Bourbon vanilla. Our Bourbon Island vanilla extract has a full, rich, intense flavor no imitation can compare to.
Originally cultivated by Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s. In 1819 the French began cultivating vanilla on Bourbon Island, now called Reunion Island, just off the coast of Madagascar.
Vanilla is the second most expensive spice [after saffron], due to the extensive labor required to hand-pollinate and grow the vanilla seed pods. Our Vanilla Beans are the Madagascar Bourbon Island variety, regarded as the world's best. These Vanilla Beans have a creamy, sweet, velvety flavor that is perfectly suited for a range of foods, from baked goods to ice creams, salad dressings to barbeque sauces.
Vanilla to enhances the flavor of other delicious dishes with complementary tastes, such as chocolate, custards, caramel, coffee, and cakes.
Use Vanilla Beans for recipes where you'll want to see the trademark flecks of whole bean in the finished dish - like custards, creme brulee or ice cream. You can halve the bean pod, and steep it in the custard or ice cream batter. Remove the pod, scrape out the seeds, and mix them back into the batter.
1 vanilla bean is equivalent to approximately 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract.