At the 2013 CRFA Show, I met Eleazar Hernandez, the Canadian importer of vanilla from The Mexican Vanilla Plantation.
At the end of the show, he handed me an envelope with some vanilla beans in it, almost apologetic that they would not be good enough, as the package had been opened and closed throughout the event.
To the contrary, they were so wonderful that I had to have an interview to learn what made them so exceptional.
I used the pods throughout the year and then, as it was drawing to a close, tossed one of the beans into a pint of rum to make some Vanilla Extract. The last time I had tried to make extract, it had taken 3 months and 6 pods bought from various stores to obtain an acceptable vanilla flavour…
This time, the year old bean from a pouch that Eleazar had worried might not be good enough after only a weekend, created a beautifully aromatic extract in just 3 days.
¡They may come from a lovely orchid, rather than a legume vine, but these are truly magic beans!
In this interview, Eleazar explains what makes the beans from the Mexican Vanilla Plantation so special, their variety and the painstakingly careful method of curing the beans, and a bit of the history and legend of Vanilla.
Thinking I’ll go and savour the fragrance of the extract for just a moment right now, and plan how I’ll use the last remaining beans.