Madagascar Vanilla

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The vanilla orchid is native only to Mexico and relies on a rare black Mexican bee to pollinate naturally. In 1841, a French owned 12-year old slave on Île Bourbon (now Réunion Island) discovered how to hand-pollinate vanilla orchids. Shortly thereafter vanilla plantations were introduced and became commonplace on the island of Madagascar.

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The type of vanilla grown on Madagascar and in most other locations is Vanilla planifolia, also known as Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. About 97% of the world's real vanilla comes from Madagascar. However, an estimated 95% of all vanilla products contains artificial vanilla. The best quality Bourbon Vanilla, also called Black Vanilla, is produced primarily around Antalaha, Sambava, Vohemar and Andapa in the northwest of Madagascar.

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In ancient times, vanilla was said to have aphrodisiac effects and help against fever. Although these properties remain scientifically unverified, it is known that vanilla increases levels of catecholamines, including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline. In an in-vitro test, vanilla was able to block quorom sensing in bacteria. In many bacteria, quorum sensing signals function as a switch for virulence in that microbes only become virulent when these signals indicate that they have the numbers to resist the host immune system response. The essential oils of vanilla and vanillin are often used in aromatherapy.

Documentary on Madagascar's vanilla trade

Madagascar: The Chinese vanilla is a half-hour documentary that gives insight into Madagascar's vanilla production and how the trade is being shaped since recent years by an increase in demand from China.

The original French language version, MADAGASCAR Vanille Chinoise, produced in 2014 by WA Productions in cooperation with Public Sénat, can be viewed at

Google Newsfeed

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22-Nov-2017 03:27
Does Madagascar's Vanilla Industry Have a Sweet Future? - OZY
20-Nov-2017 05:05
The Sour Side of Madagascar's Vanilla - OZY
19-Nov-2017 05:01
Beer today, gone tomorrow: Asheville beer happenings Nov. 21-27 - Mountain Xpress
21-Nov-2017 22:00
This Chicago-Area Company Makes the Vanilla Extract that Pastry Chefs Love -
21-Nov-2017 16:30
The Ruckus in Shorewood is serving new black vanilla ice cream -
27-Oct-2017 20:29
The Makers of PBR Are Now Selling 'Not Your Father's Bourbon' - Men's Journal
20-Nov-2017 15:58
Beer geeks heading to Greeley for rare $55 bottle - The Coloradoan
26-Oct-2017 00:29
Not Your Father's Root Beer Just Debuted A Bourbon - VinePair
15-Nov-2017 22:07
Do you know the source of your spices? - Chicago Tribune
15-Nov-2017 21:13
Pabst Is Now Making Pseudo-Craft Whiskey: "Not Your Father's Bourbon" - Paste Magazine
17-Nov-2017 22:13

Further information