"Plain vanilla" is something of a contradiction. Real vanilla is one of the most complex flavors in the world, with more than 250 different flavor components. "Pure Bourbon vanilla" refers to vanilla beans grown and cured on the Bourbon Islands in the Indian Ocean. The islands -- Madagascar, Comoro, and Reunion -- are known for producing some of the world's most flavorful vanilla.
Vanilla beans are actually the pod of a variety of orchid that's native to Mexico. To bring out the flavor we know and love, just-picked ripe Bourbon vanilla beans are dipped into near-boiling water and then laid out on wool blankets in the equatorial sun to bake until they're too hot to touch. At night, the beans are wrapped in the blankets and moved indoors to sweat all night. This process goes on for weeks until the beans turn black and aromatic; then they're ready to use.
Posted to recipelu-digest Volume 01 Number 417 by RecipeLu <recipelu@...> on Dec 30, 1997
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