Vanilla

related topics
{food, make, wine}
{specie, animal, plant}
{disease, patient, cell}
{island, water, area}
{company, market, business}
{war, force, army}
{rate, high, increase}
{land, century, early}
{math, number, function}
{acid, form, water}
{son, year, death}
{day, year, event}
{system, computer, user}
{god, call, give}

Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. Etymologically, vanilla derives from the Spanish word "vainilla", little pod.[1] Originally cultivated by Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s.[2] Attempts to cultivate the vanilla plant outside Mexico and Central America proved futile because of the symbiotic relationship between the tlilxochitl vine that produced the vanilla orchid and the local species of Melipona bee; it was not until 1837 that Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially.[3] In 1841, a 12-year-old French-owned slave by the name of Edmond Albius, who lived on Île Bourbon, discovered the plant could be hand pollinated, allowing global cultivation of the plant.[4]

There are currently three major cultivars of vanilla grown globally, all derived from a species originally found in Mesoamerica, including parts of modern day Mexico.[5] The various subspecies are Vanilla planifolia (syn. V. fragrans), grown on Madagascar, Réunion and other tropical areas along the Indian Ocean; V. tahitensis, grown in the South Pacific; and V. pompona, found in the West Indies, Central and South America.[6] The majority of the world's vanilla is the V. planifolia variety, more commonly known as "Madagascar-Bourbon" vanilla, which is produced in a small region of Madagascar and in Indonesia.[7][8]

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron,[citation needed] due to the extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods. Despite the expense, it is highly valued for its flavor, which author Frederic Rosengarten, Jr. described in The Book of Spices as "pure, spicy, and delicate" and its complex floral aroma depicted as a "peculiar bouquet."[citation needed] Despite its high cost, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture and aromatherapy.[citation needed]

Full article ▸

related documents
Butter
Sake
Pizza
Vodka
Milk
Cigar
German cuisine
Cuisine of the Southern United States
Barbecue
Champagne (wine)
Swedish cuisine
Maple syrup
Brewing
Hay
Vinegar
Sparkling wine
Areca nut
Black pepper
Taro
Sugar
Rice
Soft drink
Banana
Wine
Ramen
Sushi
Perfume
English cuisine
Potato chip
Food preservation