Vanilla is used in particular with flavourings in many foods we find today on the supermarket shelves. Yet most of our experiences with real vanilla are very limited especially in the UK. But more and more people today are asking; "What is Real Vanilla?", because up to now vanilla was an exclusive and even elusive produce to find here.
To help you get a better understanding of vanilla, here are a few essential facts:
- The Vanilla beans that we are familiar with today are the fruit from a variety of orchid plant known as Planifolia .The orchid family is the largest group of flowering plants in the world yet vanilla is the only edible fruit found among them
- The main crop producing plant is called "Vanilla planifolia"
- Vanilla planifolia is a species of vanilla. It is one of the primary sources for vanilla flavouring, due to its high vanillin content
- Vanilla is classed as a spice in culinary terms
- It is the most labour-intensive agricultural crop
- Vanilla is second most expensive spice in the world (to saffron!)
- Currently US is the biggest importer of vanilla, followed by France