Vanilla Bean

Vanilla Bean

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Vanilla, next to saffron and cardamom, is the world’s next most expensive spice. The flavoring comes from the seed pod, or the ‘bean’ of the vanilla plant. The prepared beans are very dark brown, slender, pleated and about 20 cm (8 in) long. The bean is tough and pliable, quality vanilla having a frosting of crystal called givre. The crystals contain the active ingredient ‘vanillin’ that produces the characteristic fragrance and is produced during the process of induced fermentation. These pods are called ‘fine vanilla’. ‘Woody vanilla’ is shorter, lighter colored, uncrystallized, stronger and slightly bitter. All beans contain thousands of tiny black seeds. The Vanilla Bouquet is highly fragrant and the Flavor is rich, full, aromatic and powerful. Indonesian vanilla is considered to be of very high quality.

The countries of origin include Indonesia and Madagascar.