Vanilla is used as a flavouring in many foods we buy today. Yet most of our experiences with real vanilla are very limited especially in the UK. More and more people today are asking; “What is Real Vanilla?“, because up to now vanilla was an exclusive and even elusive produce to find here.

To help you get a better understanding of vanilla, here are a few essential facts:

  • The Vanilla beans that we are familiar with today are the fruit from a variety of orchid plant known as Planifolia. The orchid family is the largest group of flowering plants in the world, yet vanilla is the only edible fruit found among them.
  • The main crop producing plant is called “Vanilla Planifolia”.
  • Vanilla Planifolia is a species of vanilla. It is one of the primary sources for vanilla flavouring, due to its high vanillin content.
  • Vanilla is classed as a spice in culinary terms.
  • It is the most labour-intensive agricultural crop.
  • Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world (to saffron!).
  • Currently the US is the biggest importer of vanilla, followed by France.