by ali on October 8th, 2013
Recently we decided to revamp our popular Vanilla Black blend to make it even better. Here at Canton it is important for us to not only have the best quality teas and ingredients, but for them to come from fully traceable sources that we know are fantastic. So we have spent months looking for the perfect Vanilla and we think that we have found it.
Madagascan vanilla, aka Bourbon Vanilla (found in the Bourbon Islands), is considered the very best in comparison to vanilla from the other top producers: Tahiti, Mexico and India. Alongside ideal growing conditions in Madagascar, such as climate, rainfall and soil, up to nine long and careful months are taken over the drying process – the crucial final stage of production. This is an intrinsic factor in creating the superior taste and quality of Bourbon vanilla.
Vanilla Bazaar are a family-run British company with Madagascan roots, who import and process some of the best Madagascan Vanilla available. They are fast becoming popular with Britain’s top chefs and luckily they share similar values with Canton. Below is a short interview with Sakina, one of Vanilla Bazaar’s directors.
Where in Madagascar is your Vanilla from?
Our Vanilla usually comes from the SAMBAVA- Antalaha region which is the world capital for vanilla. It is called the SAVA region which is located North East of Madagascar.
Who do you get your Vanilla from?
We work with a few farms –co-ops. It is an association of about 50 small growers all together. The way it works is that growers cultivate their vanilla on their own crop and it is then collected/gathered by processors.
How long has it been running?
We have been working with them since 2003 when they also started. As we are now Fairtrade, we know that a certain premium will be officially paid back to each family ensuring that no children miss school, there is no child labour involved etc…
What is different or special about this particular co-op?
It is rather a small association but very dedicated in growing and providing excellent quality vanilla pods due to its location and its general management. With the regular income provided to them, they have been recently able to invest in blankets which are rather essential in order to make sure that the pods are covered very well during the processing/curing time.
What is special about Madagascan Vanilla?
Madagascar being an island with a special tropical weather and soil produces rather unique products including vanilla. Due to its rainfall, climate, and the specific quality of its soil, Madagascan vanilla is renowned to be the best in the world. Due to its vast lands and manpower, Madagascar offers the biggest production of vanilla in the world. The yield and the vanilla content in Madagascan vanilla are usually quite high. The flavour is rather sweet, toffee, liquorice-like which goes well with desserts, as well as savoury dishes and of course TEA!