Madagascar vanilla is one the world’s most prized spices – it has over 250 unique flavor compounds. Chefs love it for it’s rich, creamy flavor. We think it’s the perfect compliment to our nutritious fats.
Madagascar may have the fame. But it was Mexico that owned the magical vanilla flower exclusively for thousands of years.
The Totonac in Eastern Mexico believed the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the vanilla orchid grew.
To the Totonac, vanilla’s taste was a gift from the gods. But for hundreds of years the spice had just one use – as an additive to chocotl, the Aztec’s signature cacao drink.
That all changed in 1602 when Spanish Conquistadors brought vanilla back to Europe. The new spice inspired Europeans to create delicacies that would become symbols of royalty.
Thomas Jefferson was the first American to experience one of these creations – a simple vanilla ice cream – while serving as foreign minister in Paris. He loved it so much, he brought the recipe back to the states (it’s now preserved in the Library of Congress).
As rare as the vanilla flavor, is the very existence of vanilla. Each flower stays open for exactly 24 hours – after which if it’s not pollinated, it wilts, dies, and drops to the ground. It was Mexico’s Mericopa bees that pollinated vanilla for thousands of years.
Madagascar learned this the hard way in 1793, when vanilla was first smuggled in from Mexico. For 50 years, farmers tried to produce the treasured spice – but couldn’t without bees to pollinate.
It the end, it took a 12-year old slave to discover you could hand-pollinate vanilla blooms using a stick and the flick of a thumb.
And Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla was born. Madagascar and the Reunion Islands today produce over 75% of the world’s vanilla.
Vanilla is the most labor-intensive crop in the world. Each bean must be hand-picked at harvest.
But months of painstaking labor are well worth it. Madagascar’s Vanilla is prized for its rich, creamy flavor. It’s sought after by chefs over the world for its unique flavor and sensory “staying power” – which makes it perfect to match with rich foods.
There’s no better pair for the rich fats we use in Keto Coffee and Keto Matcha.