Madagascan Vanilla PodsSome studies show that in the last 4 years the price rises have resulted in a 30% drop in the use of natural vanilla worldwide. However, the market for gourmet-grade whole vanilla beans is on the increase, especially in Europe where high-quality food ingredients have been popularised by numerous celebrity chefs. Americans are the biggest consumers of real vanilla followed by France, although the appreciation of French vanilla’s qualities are now being felt in the United Kingdom as the imports increase considerably. The trend away from additives and preservatives has led to an appreciation of the pure elements of food and healthy eating and has seen a rise in consumption over here.
As mentioned earlier, 97% of all vanilla used in products are synthetic and those that use real vanilla are therefore few and far between. Imitation vanilla is manufactured either from clove oil (eugenol) or as a breakdown product of lignin from a conifer (e.g., spruce, Picea).
Pure vanilla chemically has over 200 elemental chemicals that give it its taste and smell, and it is impossible to mimic this 100% today. The main compound that gives real vanilla its taste is called vanillin. Madagascan vanilla has 3 times as much vanillin concentration and therefore taste) compared to its nearest competition the Mexican Bourbon variety, and this is why it has such a reputation.
The cakedecorating company have a lovely range of this product: