Vanilla of course!
It wasn’t by mistake that we named one of our Roll-on Deo’s, Vanilla Sunshine! Given everyone’s passion for vanilla, it seems strange that “plain vanilla” means basic or blah. (Like who came up with that?) The truth is that plain vanilla is anything but dull. Kids (and well, us too) loved this smell so much we thought we’d give you a bit of insight of where it comes from.
DID YOU KNOW?
….that vanilla originated in Mexico, where the Aztecs used it to flavour a chocolate drink named Cacahuatl. The Mexicans introduced Vanilla to the Spanish, who brought it to Europe in the 16th century. Cacahuatl became popular in Europe and it became a trend to spray vanilla on sugar and using it in sweets.
Vanilla was cultivated in botanical gardens in France and England, but never offered up its glorious seeds. Growers couldn’t understand why until Charles Morren reported that vanilla’s natural pollinator was the Melipona bee, an insect that didn’t live in Europe.
In 1841, on the island of Réunion, a 12-year-old enslaved boy developed the hand-pollination method for vanilla that is still in use today. Because this process is so laborious, vanilla is really expensive to grow. With 80% of the world’s production, Madagascar is the #1 vanilla producing/exporting country in the world.
ABOUT THE PLANT
Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world (after saffron) because its production is so labor-intensive. Vanilla is also the only edible fruit of the orchid family and there are over 150 varieties of vanilla plants. Each flower stays open for just 24 hours, after which, if not pollinated, it wilts, dies and drops to the ground. (What a waste!)
- Just like grapes that make wine, no two vanilla beans have the same flavor, aroma, or color.
- Use vanilla to accentuate flavours in your food – add a few drops of vanilla to most recipes that contain fruit, vegetables, meat or fish. A few drops of vanilla will cut the acidity of tomato-based foods.
- Nearly 30% of Americans choose vanilla as their No. 1 ice cream flavor. Chocolate ranks second, with less than 10%.
- Vanilla is not only used as a food flavouring but also in perfumes because the aroma is known as calming, relaxing and sensual.
- AND Spiders don’t like vanilla. Use whole vanilla beans to drive away those eight-legged creatures…and apparently mosquitoes too!
- Sunshine enhances a positive mood, helps with depression and stress and provides us with valuable Vitamin D!