History and Origin
Vanilla comes from a type of orchid mainly from South America and Madagascar but is also grown in parts of India, Uganda, Tahiti, Mauritius and others. “According to Totonac mythology, the tropical orchid was born when a princess, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Legend has it that where their blood touched the ground, the vine of a tropical orchid grew.” (Taken from vanillamart.co.uk)
Vanilla was exported to Europe in the 1600’s but was only available to the wealthy. In the 1800’s the vanilla plant was transported to Reunion and Mauritius to be artificially grown. A 12 year old boy, called Edmond Albius, developed the method that is still used to this day. Up until that point vanilla couldn’t be grown outside of south america because it depended on a specific type of bee to pollinate it.
It is a vine like plant that has a beautiful white or yellow flower and long pods/beans where the vanilla is gathered from. It can produce fruit for up to 40 years. There are only 3 species of vanilla where the fruit is edible. The pods are harvested, dried and sweated for up to 6 months and then ready to be eaten or sold. The typical flavour and smell of vanilla only begin to exist during this process. The tiny little black beans inside the pod are known as ‘caviar’.
Vanilla is said to be the second most expensive product by weight, after saffron. This is because of the time it takes from sowing to selling and the labour involved.
There are many, many uses for vanilla. Sometimes you are eating or smelling vanilla without even knowing it!
The obvious is for flavouring in food – Vanilla cured salmon, custard, creme brulee, ice cream, chocolate, baking, honey… Vanilla extract is used in drinks– coffee, hot chocolate, cocktails, milkshakes, tea…
In pharmacology “Vanillin may exert antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic activity by inhibiting a DNA repair process leading to the production of mutagenic cells.” Vanillin is the specific part of the vanilla pods that contain the scent and taste. If you ever saw white crystals forming on vanilla pods, that is the vanillin. Because of the expense of natural vanilla extract, a synthetic product has been developed to be used in the medical world. An antisickling effect has also been observed. It can also be used to mask unpleasant flavours in medicine.
Some tobacco companies lightly flavour their tobacco with vanilla to give it a smoother finish.
Although vanilla is expensive, it is viewed as a “standard” scent for fragrance/perfumes and cleaning. It can be sweet or earthy and quite versatile. The perfect scent for base or top notes.
It has been proven that the scent of vanilla, or food that vanilla is added to, satisfies the body more than foods without it. It tricks the brain into feeling full. I have heard that if you are on a diet, put a few drops of vanilla oils or extract only a handkerchief and smell it when you are hungry it will take away the craving of food.
The term French Vanilla came from when the French started using eggs when making ice-cream. It gave the aroma a deeper and stronger scent.
With an amazing scent throw, our French Vanilla scented candles with give you the deep and satisfying aroma of vanilla in your home.
- 100% Natural Soy Wax
- No pesticides or GMOs
- Safe for asthmatics and pregnant women
- 40 hour burn
- Makes the perfect gift