Located in northern Australia and western Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea offers high quality Tahitensis vanilla. Often underestimated, it comes with a price / quality ratio that triumphs over all competition.
Not to be confused with Tahitian vanilla, Papua vanilla offers a woody aroma followed by spicy, peppery and even floral notes. Its average weight varies from 2 to 6 grams depending on the thickness and size of the pod (11 to 23 cm), allowing for easy use and storage. A high-end black vanilla, rich in grains with a moisture content of 20 to 30% depending on the quality of the pod. A layer of frost covering the vanilla is frequent, a sign of naturalness but also of quality. Renowned for its excellent aging, Papua New Guinea vanilla takes first place on the podium and dries much slower than its rivals.
Tahitensis vanilla is a species of orchids. It was born from the hybridization of Vanilla planifolia and a species close to Vanilla odorata in the years 1350 to 1500 in Tropical America (Mexico). First used by the Aztecs to flavor cocoa, it was brought to Europe by Hernando Cortez where several tried to cultivate it. The marketing of vanilla then began in Spain in 1510, then in France in 1604. It was later planted in Tahiti in 1848. This same vanilla is today cultivated in French Polynesia. The natural pollination process was once enabled by a rare black bee from Mexico. It is carried out today more easily by women or children via artificial pollination with a bamboo stylus. It was in 1841 on Bourbon Island (now Reunion Island) that a slave, Edmond Albius discovered this technique.
Vanilla is a vine. It requires support to grow. The most used supports are trees such as the mango tree or the coffee tree.
Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices on the market. There are currently more than 40 species of vanilla in the world. There are 3 of the best known, Planifolia vanilla (called Fragrans vanilla), Pompona vanilla and finally Tahitensis vanilla. Madagascar has the largest vanilla production in the world with nearly 97% of the world trade in vanilla. Although Madagascan vanilla is sold at very low prices, it remains a low-quality vanilla with a vanillin (vanilla flavor) rate at its lowest. Tahitian vanilla breaks all vanillin records. Its anise flavor makes it unique. Being of very high quality, Tahitian vanilla is nevertheless sold at prices that are often unaffordable. It is largely aimed at professionals and luxury restaurants rather than individuals. Finally, vanilla from Papua New Guinea arguably has the best quality / price ratio on the vanilla market. Its excellent conservation is a major asset. Although it is the same variety as Tahitian vanilla, it is no less different.
IN THE KITCHEN :
In the kitchen, vanilla will be your best ally. Pairing perfectly with your savory or sweet dishes, vanilla is a premium spice. Widely used in catering, gourmet chefs have no limit to the use of vanilla as a means of spicing up their dishes. It most often helps to make desserts (cakes, ice creams, etc.), savory dishes or even cocktails. It can also be used as an accompaniment to your marinades or sauces. More professionally, it can also be used in the manufacture of syrups, dairy products or alcohol.
The possible methods of use are numerous:
- It is better to cut the pod in half. The grains inside the pod are what serve as the spice. It is recommended to scrape them lengthwise with a knife. You can also immerse the cut vanilla pod in a liquid preparation or a cocktail that you would like to flavor.
- It is also possible to use vanilla in powder form. In this case, do not waste anything and pour the powder directly into your dishes to give them flavor.
- In the form of vanilla extract, liquid allowing you to flavor your creams, desserts and other panna cottas (to be used sparingly).
-In vanilla sugar, which you can make yourself by adding a split vanilla pod in your sugar box. You can add a scent note to your coffee, your natural yogurts, your pancakes or other pastries.