Friday, April 28, 2017

Fresh, Tahitian vanilla-infused picnic snacks

Spring is in the air! Every year, just as the grass starts to green and the afternoon sun beckons us to head to the park, we are reminded of the joy of a day outdoors. And in our opinion there is no better way to spend a warm spring day than lounging on a picnic blanket with a bounty of spring food before us. Here are three easy pack-along snacks that feature our favorite ingredient—you guessed it—Tahitian vanilla!

Fresh strawberries dipped in Tahitian vanilla sugar – Market-fresh strawberries are delicious all by themselves, but why stop there? Dust the succulent berries with homemade Tahitian vanilla sugar and you’ve turned the delicious into decadent. Making your own vanilla sugar is easy!

Strawberries and Tahitian vanilla cream – Scrape the seeds, a.k.a. caviar,  of a vanilla bean into heavy cream and whip it up! Or you could add a pinch of ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder, or a couple drops of vanilla extract or paste into the cream before whipping. Then stir in some strawberries, top with a bit of lemon zest, and grab a box of vanilla wafers. Be sure to keep your strawberry treat cold so your cream doesn’t get too runny!

Tahitian vanilla bean sun tea – Mix up a big batch of tasty Tahitian vanilla-infused sun tea before the last of the fresh lemons are gone. Transport in mason jars stashed in the cooler.

You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing an elaborate sweet treat to please your tastebuds, fresh fruit and easy fixin’s can take center stage, leaving more time to savor the sweet reward of spring. Bon appetít!

Bake With Love. Bake with Vanilla From Tahiti.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lobster loves vanilla

Savoriness isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of vanilla, unless maybe you’re French—or a professionally trained chef. In fact, French chefs have paired vanilla with pork, poultry and especially seafood for a long, long time. It really isn’t such a crazy idea when you think about it.

Just as salt brings out the umami in food, vanilla brings out sweetness in other ingredients. That’s why you see vanilla in chocolate confections, ice creams and all sorts of desserts. Vanilla also brings out the sweetness in meats like pork, poultry and venison, as well as seafood like lobster, shrimp, and scallops. Any meat dish served up with a sweet sauce could benefit from a little vanilla love. How about Hawaiian chicken, BBQ anything, duck with apricots, or venison in a cherry sauce? Is your imagination going crazy now?

Back in the nineteen-nineties, lobster in vanilla sauce was a popular dish. All the best restaurants had it on the menu. We think it is time to revive that pairing and improve on it by using Tahitian vanilla! Check out our Pinterest board for inspiration and recipes.

Bake With Love. Vanilla From Tahiti.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why the price of vanilla soars.

The cost of vanilla has always been volatile but now is positively soaring. Six years ago prices for vanilla beans were hovering at about $20 a kilogram, wholesale. Today, the price of Madagascar vanilla beans is close to $500/kg according to a recent market report. Tahitian beans prices approach $600/kg because they are more rare, comprising less than 5% of the vanilla market. Tahitian vanilla is usually 3-5 times the cost of Madagascar vanilla. 

Why has the price risen so dramatically? The vanilla supply tightened and prices are skyrocketing because of a poor harvest in Madagascar last year. After the Madagascar crop failure Tahitian farmers withheld their vanilla beans because they were concerned about quality. The trouble is that vanilla producers can’t determine the quality of their product until the vanilla beans are cured, which is many months after the harvest. This means they spend all that time curing beans that they can’t turn around and sell which drives the price up. So as you can imagine, when the supply goes down, prices go up.

To gain a little perspective on what it takes to produce the second most expensive spice in the world (after saffron), consider vanilla’s long and labor-intensive cultivation.

Is buying vanilla still worth it? Here’s what Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Baking Bible, The Bread Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible, and many more says about the subject. “ALWAYS! I'd rather use nothing, as the taste of artificial vanilla varies from insipid to nasty. Pure vanilla not only has a delicious taste of its own; it also enhances other flavors.”

“Using imitation vanilla extract in your baked goods is like dousing yourself with the Chanel No. 5 knockoff you bought in Chinatown.” — Jessie Oleson Moore, CakeSpy blogger

More top baking experts say, yes, real vanilla is worth the expense.

But don’t give up hope. Vanilla harvests, and prices, are cyclical in nature and this year’s crop is promising. So the spike will be temporary.

“Vanilla from Tahiti is always going to have the best price, and we will be the first to cut the price as soon as we can.” — Peter Cohen, Vanilla From Tahiti

Bake With Love. Vanilla From Tahiti.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Act now and get a book perfect for anyone who feels deeply and loves food and art.

Chef Roberto Cortez believes there are no limits to how food can be experienced. 

His new book, Senses in Sucrose: The Art of Emotions in Sweet Form, uses breathtaking desserts and photography to express the depth of human emotions.

Chef Cortez says there are two common denominators that impact and connect every single one of us—emotions and food. “We feel at every given moment. And we all need to eat. My book is about how these denominators connect. This is not a cookbook, but a photographic journey of things we have all felt, and even some we hope to never feel.

“In the pursuit of excellence and exceeding limits, I always try and surround myself with the best products in the world. This book is no exception. I am honored to have Hering Berlin, Amedei and Vanilla From Tahiti exclusively throughout the book. Not only that, some of the world’s most innovative designers and craftsmen, like Estuari Designs, Jinhyun Jeon, Andreas Fabian, Lindsay Rogers, and Katja Bremkamp are collaborating with me as well.”

But don’t take our word for it. After seeing his first menu that we collaborated on, I was blown away. And after tasting it, it sent me to the heavens and I realized I had found a culinary soul brother. Roberto’s approach to his cuisine is spectacular. I have yet to meet or read about any chef that has his path.
— Matthew Biancaniello, cocktail chef and author of Eat Your Drink

OK, do take our word for it. 
Roberto deftly defies all that is expected in food to create some truly incredible dining experiences. We couldn't be more excited about his new book. If it's half as good as the dishes he's prepared using our vanilla, it's going to be a mouthwatering visual feast.
— Peter Cohen, Vanilla From Tahiti

Using photography and evocative writing, this finely bound, 200-page, photo-oriented volume will include 12 chapters, each on a different complex emotion expressed through a unique dessert created for that expression. Because this is not a cookbook but rather an aesthetic experience, there are no recipes.

Will you experience it? Join Vanilla From Tahiti and help us support Chef Roberto Cortez’ book project on Kickstarter. The all-or-nothing project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Monday, Dec 26, 2016, 7:35 PM PST—just in time for a gift for your favorite foodie this holiday season!

Thank you for your support.

Bake With Love. Vanilla From Tahiti.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Vanilla Bean Paste is the best of both worlds

Want to include both the flavor of Tahitian vanilla extract and the beauty of thousands of tiny vanilla bean seeds in your recipe? Here is a tip from professional pastry chefs and cooks. Use Tahitian vanilla bean paste and get the best of both worlds.

What is vanilla bean paste? Essentially, vanilla bean paste is made from vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds scraped from the bean, and a binder. It has a thick viscosity more akin to a syrup than a paste, actually. Some producers include sugar in some shape or form, so watch out for that if you don’t want additional sugar in your recipe. Our Tahitian Vanilla Bean Paste is made with gluten-free, grain-free alcohol and is triple strength, with no sugar or sweeteners added. It is non-GMO, kosher, and made in the USA, to boot.

Why use vanilla bean paste? It saves time. You don’t have to know how to split and scrape a vanilla bean to get to all those beautiful seeds (also known as caviar) and then worry about what to do with your used vanilla bean pod. Our triple strength paste has a rich, concentrated flavor, and when a little goes a long way it means you can conserve this precious ingredient. The best reason to use paste is for the visual effect of the seeds.

How to use vanilla bean paste. Normally, one would substitute paste for extract 1:1, but because ours is triple strength, substitute one third the amount of paste for extract. For example, one third tablespoon of paste = one tablespoon of extract.

When not to use vanilla bean paste. When your recipe calls for dry ingredients, use ground vanilla bean powder instead of extract or paste. Learn more about how and when to use
Tahitian Ground Vanilla Powder.

So there you have it. Get the beauty of real Tahitian vanilla bean seeds and full flavor of vanilla extract in the convenient form of vanilla bean paste. It’s the best of both worlds.

Bake with Love. Vanilla From Tahiti.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Baking with kids offers teachable moments

When it comes to baking Halloween treats, kids of all ages can contribute to the many tasks at hand. The littlest ones will enjoy forming dough into balls, the older ones can tackle precise measurements, and everyone enjoys decorating.

More importantly, making treats together as a family offers a plethora of opportunities for teachable moments. To make our treats, we will need to read and follow directions, exercise our math and science skills, and solve problems in a real-life situation that will have consequences if we don’t do it right. Precision counts in baking! We realize the value of organization, preparation, and safety. We discover the joys of cooperation with our team, flex our creative muscles, learn from our mistakes, and take pride in a job well-done. We develop the discipline to clean up the inevitable mess while we patiently wait for our treats to bake. Ultimately, we experience the joy of giving and sharing while creating lasting memories with our loved ones.

We’ve assembled a few recipes on our Pinterest board for inspiration. Put everyone in the family to work with these family-friendly Halloween recipes.

Bake With Love. Bake with Vanilla From Tahiti.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Take your Culinary Creativity to the Next Level with ground Tahitian Vanilla Bean Powder

How many bottles of vanilla extract are in your pantry right now? If you love to bake, you probably have one at the very least. You might even have Tahitian, Madagascar-Bourbon, and Mexican extract, as each imparts different aromas and flavors to your culinary creations. OK, you’ve probably used vanilla extract lots, but have you ever baked or cooked with Tahitian vanilla bean powder? No? Time to up your game!

What is ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder? Glad you asked! There are two types, the first is pure vanilla beans that have been dried and ground to a powder (like ours). The second is dried and ground beans that have added sugar (sucrose, dextrose, or maltodextrin. etc.) and possibly other additives (silicon dioxide, corn starch, evaporated cane juice, silica, cellulose and the like). Our Ground Tahitian Vanilla Powder is made of pristine, freeze-dried Tahitian beans that have been ground to a fine powder. That is all! There are no additives or fillers of any kind whatsoever in our powder. That said, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Take a gander at the label before you buy vanilla bean powder.

When to use ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder. Use vanilla bean powder in dry ingredients or when you want to avoid alcohol in a recipe. Many baking recipes call for a mixture of dry ingredients that are added to wet ingredients. Use ground powder in the dry ingredients and use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste in wet ingredients.

Benefits of ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder. Ground vanilla bean powder has unique properties. Because our ground powder is unadulterated, it retains pure Tahitian vanilla flavor very well. Unlike vanilla extract, ground vanilla powder contains no alcohol. Because our ground powder has no added sugar, it works well for diabetics and those who are avoiding sugar, starch and carbohydrates. Our ground powder is the rich, dark brown color of vanilla beans, not light in color like cornstarch or sugar, so it will blend in easily with dark ingredients such as chocolate. Ground vanilla bean powder yields a strong vanilla flavor.

Do-It-Yourself ground vanilla bean powder. It is so easy to make your own vanilla bean powder. Simply chop dessicated beans and grind them in a coffee grinder or herb mill. If your beans have a little moisture that makes it difficult to grind, leave them out in the air for a day or two and grind again. The drier the bean, the finer the powder.

Suggested uses of ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder:

In baking - use in dry mixes (think homemade hot chocolate mix or pancake mix), breads, frostings, icing, and buttercreams, or sprinkle on top of cakes, cookies or doughnuts
When cooking - easily mixes in liquid without clumping, use in sauces, use in sweet-spicy dry rubs for BBQ pork or salmon
In desserts - add to chocolates, meringues, custards, ice creams, and gelatos, dust over macarons or cookies as a garnish
In beverages - add to coffee, tea, hot cocoa, smoothies, protein shakes, cocktails, add to sugar or salt to rim a cocktail glass
On fruit - sprinkle vanilla on fresh fruit instead of sugar
Other uses - flavor sugar, salt, butter, nut butter, oil, lemon curd

Tips for storing ground vanilla bean powder. Just like other vanilla products, store ground vanilla bean powder in an airtight glass container, and keep in a cool, dark, dry place. Avoid extreme temperatures, and moist, humid, warm places. Do not freeze or refrigerate vanilla, as it depletes flavor and could encourage mold growth. When stored properly, vanilla beans, extract, paste and powder can last in excess of two years.

Equivalencies – Substitute any of the following for each other with confidence:
1 Tahitian vanilla bean
tablespoon Tahitian vanilla extract (1X)
tablespoon ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder
1 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla bean paste (3X)

Vanilla is one of the most recognizable and popular flavorings in the world. Remember, vanilla is the salt of the baking world. Where salt is used to bring out essential savory flavors, vanilla enhances natural sweetness. Now that you know all about ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder, you’re ready to take your baking to the next level! 

Bake With Love. Bake with Vanilla From Tahiti.

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