Recently, we headed to one of our favorite countries in the world… our beloved Mexico. While we were there we noticed that, in addition to our obsession with Mexican coffee, we are now newly obsessed with Mexican vanilla. So, if you’re thinking of taking a sweet vacation (or bringing that sweet vacation back with you), we recommend scoring some vanilla and cooking up a storm.
In addition to Mexico, other vanilla producing countries include: Tahiti, Madagascar and Uganda; each with it’s own distinct flavor. These destinations also harvest vanilla beans that are used in the top notch line, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, sold at Williams Sonoma and a slew of stores worldwide. Here’s a brief overview of our vanilla producing friends.
– Mexico: While the vanilla bean originated in Mexico, enjoying a 300-year monopoly, they are now a secondary supplier with production of approximately 40-60 tons per year. Spicy Mexican Vanilla complements cinnamon and can help reduce the acidity of tomato-based products like chili.
– Tahiti: Tahiti produces a different type of vanilla bean called Vanilla Tahitensis Moore. It has a fruity, flowery flavor. Approximately 15-25 tons of beans are produced in Tahiti per year. Use Tahitian Vanillas to potentiate the flavors of fruit-based products such as sorbets and toppings.
– Madagascar: The largest producer of vanilla beans in the world is the Island of Madagascar, part of the Bourbon Island chain. Their annual production historically averages a whopping 1,200–1,500 tons of vanilla beans, which is 50-60% of the annual worldwide vanilla bean production. Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla is especially suited to rich foods such as ice cream and buttercream. For staying quality in products with coffee and chocolate, or for yogurt-based drinks, the blend of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla and Indonesian Vanilla is the choice to make. This blend is also the one to use when your process requires the use of high heat, as in high heat/low mass cookie production.
– Uganda: Most people don’t know that Uganda produces a large of amount of vanilla, as well. Ugandan vanilla beans have a sweet balsamic flavor and nearly 120-170 tons of these vanilla beans are produced per year.
Though there are many different vanilla producers on the market, we decided to mention Nielsen-Massey Vanillas because they’ve been creating quality extracts since 1907 and offer vanilla products from each of these countries. So bring a little sweetness home from Mexico, Tahiti, Madagascar, or Uganda. Let your mood dictate your desire…