Ah, the mellow, fruity, and rich taste of Vanilla Planifolia (Bourbon Vanilla). One of the many species of vanilla beans that are used throughout the world, and the main focus of this post. First, we will explore the many varieties of this spice.
Vanilla beans come from an orchid. These orchids are hand pollinated, because they require a special kind of scarce bee to pollinate them. They are hand-picked, and fermented for months before being shipped to consumers.
Now let’s talk about the three main species of vanilla: Vanilla Planifolia (Bourbon), Vanilla Tahitienesis (Tahitian) and Vanilla Pompona (West Indian). The former being the most widely used and grown, and the latter the least widely used and grown. Each species has their own characteristics, but the true flavors depend on the region it is grown in. Vanilla beans typically come from Mexico, Madagascar, Tahiti, India and Indonesia. Many pastry chef’s prefer the Tahitian, while some prefer the Madagascar variety like myself. While other’s…
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