There’s no such thing as “plain vanilla” with Nielsen-Massey. The quality and variety of their extracts and waters, born of their experience (over 100 years), will make the difference in your creations.
Most people know about two types of vanilla: real and artificial. But at Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, it’s all real – and comes in so many varieties. Of course, Madagascar Bourbon is central to Nielsen-Massey’s product line. Its creamy, sweet, velvety flavor is perfectly suited for a range of products from baked goods to ice creams, salad dressings to barbeque sauces. Looking for a fruitier vanilla? Use Tahitian. Spicy? Mexican is the way to go. Anywhere there is a need for a mellow accent that complements sweet or savory, plain or fancy, vanilla is there!
Today, vanilla is grown in four main areas of the world. Each region produces vanilla beans with distinctive characteristics and attributes. Here’s the scoop on each one:
Madagascar, an island off the east coast of Africa, is the largest producer of vanilla beans in the world and the ensuing vanilla is known as Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. The term Bourbon applies to beans grown on the Bourbon Islands (including Madagascar). There is no connection with the liquor of the same name. Madagascar Bourbon vanilla is considered to be the highest quality pure vanilla available, described as having a creamy, sweet, smooth, mellow flavor.
Indonesia is the second largest producer of vanilla, with a vanilla that is woody, astringent and phenolic. Madagascar and Indonesia produce 90 percent of the world’s vanilla bean crop.
Mexico, where the vanilla orchid originated, now produces only a small percentage of the harvest. Mexican vanilla is described as creamy, sweet, smooth and spicy.
Tahitian vanilla, grown from a different genus of vanilla orchid, is flowery and fruity, anisic and smooth.
Nielsen-Massey has recently added a line of pure extracts from other botanical sources. Almond, chocolate, peppermint, orange, lemon, or coffee can make your recipe, potpourri, or sachet something special.
Every single vanilla blossom must be pollinated by hand
Artificial vanilla (vanillin, methyl vanillin, or 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde), has only one component of the over 250 flavors in natural vanilla.
The United States consumption of vanilla beans is approximately 1,200 tons per year!
A few drops of vanilla in a can of paint will help eliminate unpleasant odors!
A teaspoon of vanilla in Italian tomato sauces or Mexican chili cuts the tomatoes’ acidity!
If you cream vanilla with shortening or butter in your baking recipes, the fat encapsulates the vanilla, preventing it from volatilizing in the baking process.
Milestones in vanilla history.
The ancient Totonaco Indians of Mexico were the first keepers of the secrets of vanilla. When they were defeated by the Aztecs, they were forced to relinquish the exotic fruit of the Tlilxochitl vine: vanilla pods.
When the Aztecs were defeated by the conquering Spaniards, Hernando Cortez returned to Spain with vanilla beans, which were combined with cacao to make an unusual and pleasing drink. For eighty years, this special beverage was only enjoyed by the nobility and the very rich.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. While serving as Ambassador to King Louis XVI of France, he became familiar with vanilla beans, and brought 200 of them back to the United States.
George Washington liked vanilla ice cream and kept two pewter ice cream pots at Mount Vernon during his presidency from 1789-1797.
Dolly Madison created a sensation when she served vanilla ice cream as a dessert in the White House at the second inaugural ball in 1812.