As you say the word 'Vanilla' its almost as if you can taste it. This sultry and sweet aroma hits your nose and immediately your mouth starts to water. Well perhaps just mine.
It's a rare commodity and has become exceptionally expensive. But why you ask? Well there are numerous reasons. The weather for one. Most of the vanilla in the market comes from the Indian Oceans such as Madagascar and Mauritius and also Indonesia. They have of late had very destructive weather patterns such a cyclones that have unfortunately wiped out crops.
It's also a very labour intensive growing process. The flower of the vanilla orchid must be hand-pollinated and this flower only blooms on one day, once a year. Should pollination be successful, you could have a vanilla pod 40 weeks afterwards... YES! Around 9 months AFTER pollination, do the farmers have the opportunity to harvest the vanilla pods. These pods then need to be cured and dried which can also take up to one year. Lengthy process is an understatement.
Unfortunately it's also come to the point where some of these pods are stolen and vandalised before they are ready which then ruins the full growing process and health of the orchid. Pods picked too early can also mean a lower quality vanilla. But these stolen pods get mixed with the legal ones moving up the supply chain. This can become high-risk for farmers who then (as many have) move onto other crops.
We use the Bourbon Vanilla. It is the same vanilla used by the Rhum distilleries. This cost us $570 for 1 kilogram. Worth more than silver.
You might ask, 'why not use an imitation vanilla or artificial essence?' Anyone who is serious about quality recipes knows the best ingredients make the best products. Purchasing pure vanilla means we are keeping the industry and farmers alive with a market to sell their vanilla.
As we did with this kilogram, we will do whatever we can to make sure the right ingredients of the right quality goes into our product before we sign, seal and deliver that bottle!