Wednesday, November 26, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Free Tahitian Vanilla DIY Gift Kit!

 Win a Tahitian Vanilla DIY Gift Kit

Enter to win over $50 in FREE Tahitian vanilla PLUS everything you need to make your very own holiday gifts!

Flavor the holidays this season with this delicious Do-It-Yourself Tahitian Vanilla Gift Kit. One lucky winner will receive a collection of our most popular Tahitian vanilla products and a crafty set of containers, ribbons, and tags to make their own pint-sized gifts.
 Enter to win!
Click here to enter. Good luck!

What? You don’t know how? No problem. It is incredibly easy. We’ve shared a bunch of helpful tips and techniques here on our blog: 

Learn How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Extract, How To Make Tahitian Vanilla-Infused Spirits, and How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Salt or Sugar. And if those ideas aren’t enough, we offer 15 Things To Do With Spent Vanilla Bean Pods. But that’s not all. Stay tuned to our blog. In the coming days we will post How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Honey, and How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Flavored Tea.

 Win Tahitian Vanilla DIY Gift Kit
Can’t wait to get started crafting gifts? Buy Tahitian vanilla beans, extract, ground powder and more on our website.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Salt or Sugar

The holidays are upon us! Tis the season to visit with friends and family—but arriving empty-handed just won’t cut it. Looking for an easy, do-it-yourself, host/hostess gift you can make in minutes? Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Salt or Sugar couldn’t be simpler. All you need is salt or sugar, a vanilla bean and a minute or two of time. Tie a ribbon on the jar and call it good!


  • 1 cup of salt or sugar. Any salt will do, from a coarse Pink Himalayan salt, to Fleur de Sel, to fine Kosher salt. Likewise, any sugar will work nicely; white sugar, brown sugar, or raw sugar. 
  • 1-2 Tahitian vanilla beans*
  • 1 airtight container such as a canning jar, or any clean, dry, glass jar with a screw top.


  • With a sharp paring knife, split the bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. We call this vanilla caviar! Save the spent bean pod for another use. Here are some ideas on what to do with spent vanilla bean pods.
  • Once the caviar is in a bowl, add in the salt or sugar. Rub the mixture together, being sure to spread the seeds around. Eventually the seeds will dry, so you want them to be evenly distributed.
  • Optional: Add a portion of the split vanilla bean pod for looks.
  • Seal the jar tightly and wait a week or so. 

Vanilla salt and sugar lasts indefinitely when kept cool, dry and airtight.

Homemade Tahitian vanilla salt or sugar makes a great DIY gift. 
Get your premium Tahitian vanilla beans here

*Note: Tahitian vanilla beans are larger, more moist and more plump than other beans. If you can’t use Tahitian vanilla beans, then use 2-3 times as many of the other types of vanilla beans.

Not sure what to do with it? Add a little vanilla salt and/or sugar to:
corn on the cob
candied carrots
butternut squash
sweet potato fries
french fries
any green vegetable
bread pudding
chocolate chip cookies
cinnamon toast
fresh fruit
rim your cocktail glass with it
coffee or tea

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How To Make Tahitian Vanilla-Infused Spirits

Time for a little holiday cocktail party prep! In our opinion, there’s no better way to get in the holiday mood than cranking up some Bing and mixing up a couple of vanilla-infused sippers for friends and family. Here is a tried-and-true recipe for making your own vanilla-infused liquor.

Heads up! You will need a couple weeks’ time to make Tahitian Vanilla-Infused Spirits, so you might want to get a jump-start on this DIY project. 

Infusing liquor is so easy. All you need is your favorite spirit, a few Tahitian vanilla beans, and a couple of weeks time.


  • 1 liter or 750ml bottle of good-quality spirits (even an infusion won’t improve bad booze). You can use vodka, bourbon, brandy, rum, gin or even sake.
  • 2 Tahitian* vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise.


  • Add split vanilla beans to your bottle of liquor and let sit in a cool, dark place. The longer the spirits sit, the stronger the flavor. 
  • Taste the infusion every few days until the vanilla flavor has the desired strength. There is no right or wrong number of days to infuse the liquor. Your own tastebuds will tell you when the infusion is right. Anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks is within the realm of a good infusion. 
  • When it tastes right to you, remove the vanilla seeds and beans by straining through a coffee filter. If your infusion gets too strong, simply dilute with more spirit.

Don’t miss the best part 
Homemade Tahitian Vanilla-Infused Spirits are a great gift idea. Dress up a cute little bottle or canning jar with a pretty ribbon, and voila—a pint-sized present for your next happy hour host. 

Get your premium Tahitian vanilla beans here.

*Note: Tahitian vanilla beans are larger, more moist and more plump than other vanilla beans. If you can’t use Tahitian vanilla beans, then use 2-3 times as many of the other types of vanilla beans.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

7 cookbooks that would make a perfect gift for your favorite baker

A little holiday roundup of some of our favorite cookbooks! For anyone who loves to bake nothing gets the creativity flowing like an afternoon curled up with a great cookbook.

So, without further ado, here are 7 cookbooks that would make a perfect gift for your favorite baker. Click on the title to purchase:

1) Bouchon Bakery $26
If the photography doesn’t make you drool, then the recipes most certainly will! This is a gorgeous cookbook from Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel of Bouchon, an award-winning restaurant in the heart of California’s wine country.

2) Milk Bar $35
Anything that David Chang blesses will surely make our tastebuds perk up. This cookbook has the genius influence of Chang, paired delightfully with Pastry Chef extraordinaire Christina Tosi’s skill. Be sure to make the Crack Pie.

3) Tartine Bread $40
From one of the masters of bread, this cookbook is chock-full of beautiful photographs and recipes to match. Chef Chad Robertson trained at CIA and his wife Elisabeth won a 2008 James Beard award for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

4) Pretzel Making at Home $16
Looking for a twist? Go for the pretzels! For anyone who loves to entertain their friends, or even their just-home-from-school kiddos this is a great cookbook for the chef who already has the classics down pat.

5) The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free $25
Gluten-free is no longer a thing of the past. We’re constantly on the lookout for tasty new recipes that bring out the flavor of our favorite foods, minus the gluten overload.

6) Baked Occasions $23
Celebrate Mardi Gras, Halloween and everything in-between with this fun cookbook. Packed with inspiring photos and tasty cakes for each month’s holidays, this cookbook is perfect for any baker who loves adding candles to their creations.

7) Cake Pops $16
There’s not much that can top a cake pop. The craft little decorating sessions, the bite-sized perfection, and not to mention they’re just plain adorable. Bakerella’s cookbook is a top-seller, even Martha Stewart is a fan!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bake the pie that everyone will be talking about this Thanksgiving!

The perfect pumpkin pie is a thing of beauty. Your first ingredient? Love. And what better way to bake with love than to bake with the very best ingredients. Delight your dinner guests this Thanksgiving by adding a teaspoon of ground Tahitian vanilla powder to your recipe.

A pinch of vanilla powder stirred in with your other dry ingredients will add a layers of depth and complexity to your pie.

Want to push things over the top? Go for homemade Tahitian vanilla whipped cream! Simply scrape the seeds of one vanilla bean into heavy whipping cream and whisk until it peaks. The results? A decadent and delicious ending to any meal.

Tip: Invited to a gathering and out of time to whip something up? Top off that last-minute store bought pie with vanilla bean whipped cream and your, ahem, indiscretion will be gladly overlooked!

Spend just $25 storewide and you'll get 15% off any size Ground Vanilla Powder! Get the coupon code here

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Tahitian Vanilla Cream Sauce

All of our shop talk here at the office about Tahitian vanilla has inspired us to get creative with our favorite ingredient. Last week, Joslyn (on our marketing team) shared her recipe for pork tenderloin, a savory and delicious way to introduce a taste of Tahiti to the dinner plate. The natural sweetness of pork is enhanced by vanilla's floral and fruity qualities. If you haven’t tried cooking savory dishes with vanilla, this is an easy recipe that will perk up your taste buds with a familiar flavor in a new way.

Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Tahitian Vanilla Cream Sauce
by Joslyn Baker
Yield 6 servings
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins

2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch medallions
1 teaspoon freshly ground salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Seeds from 1 Tahitian vanilla bean, reserve the spent bean* for another use.

- Pour stock in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and reduce to 1 cup.
- Add 1/2 cup cream and simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 cup.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold pork medallions in one layer without overcrowding. You do not want to crowd the pan or the pork will steam and not brown. Cook pork in batches, if necessary. Pan-fry medallions +/- 2 minutes on each side. They will be pink inside. Remove the medallions to a platter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and cover loosely with foil.
- Pour the stock-cream mixture into the pan and deglaze the pan by scraping up brown bits.
- Add the seeds of the vanilla bean to the pan and stir.
- Spoon sauce over the medallions and serve.

We paired the pork with French Haricot Vert beans and a Pinot Noir wine from Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County.

Buy Vanilla From Tahiti beans here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Extract

Love to bake but don’t want the all the extra sugar and gluten? Do you want to make absolutely, positively sure your vanilla extract is 100% pure, sugar-free, gluten-free, allergy-free and made only of honest-to-goodness, real, natural vanilla beans? Then make it yourself! It’s so easy. Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Extract takes only 3 things: vodka, Tahitian vanilla beans and time.

  • 1 750ml bottle of vodka.
    Avoid cheap, rot-gut booze. A good-quality, organic, gluten-free vodka like Tito's, that’s distilled 3 or more times is just right.
  • 3-5 Tahitian vanilla beans*
    If you want it twice as strong, or in half the time, double the number of beans.

  • With a sharp paring knife, split the beans lengthwise but don’t scrape out the seeds, a.k.a. vanilla caviar. Leave the seeds in the bean.
  • Place the split beans in the vodka, making sure to cover the beans completely. Then seal the bottle tightly.
  • Every week or so give the bottle a vigorous shaking.
  • Allow to extract for a minimum of four weeks before using.

The hardest part is waiting! After about two months, most of the vanilla flavor will be extracted from the beans, but it takes about six months for a complete extraction. We like to leave the spent beans in the jar for looks. It is okay to leave the beans in the bottle.

When you’re running low on extract, add more vodka and some beans. Vanilla extract lasts indefinitely when kept in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight container.

Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Extract makes a great do-it-yourself gift that any baker would love to receive. You may want to pour it into smaller containers such as a canning jar, or any glass jar with a tight seal. Before filling the new containers, make sure to sterilize them by boiling for thirty minutes.

Gift Tip: Some people like to see the tiny black vanilla seeds, but you can remove them by straining through a coffee filter. For aesthetic reasons, you can replace the old bean with a fresh one that has not been split.

Of course, if you don’t have time, or are not the DIY type, you can get 100% pure, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, allergy-free, vegan, kosher, Tahitian vanilla extract here. If you want to make it yourself, get your premium Tahitian vanilla beans here.

*Note: Tahitian vanilla beans are larger, more moist and more plump than other beans. If you can’t use Tahitian vanilla beans, then use 2-3 times as many of the other types of vanilla beans.

(Photo location courtesy of The Wilson, San Francisco)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Trip to Tahiti, Source of the World’s Best Vanilla

Our Founder, Peter Cohen, and Director of Sales, Manuel Flores, recently took a trip to the islands of Tahiti. We thought it would be fun to share some of the photos they took while visiting a couple of the farms where we source our premium vanilla. Peter and Manuel managed to catch up with our farmers and partner for a tour of the curing process. All in all, their travels took them to 6 of the 118 islands of French Polynesia: Moorea, Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Huahine, and back to the capital Papeete on the island of Tahiti.

Here, well take a look at how the beans are grown and cured.

Vanilla from Tahiti is the fruit of a flowering orchid vine, vanilla tahitensis. Vanilla requires warmth and humidity which is why Tahiti makes for the perfect home to grow our favorite spice.

In the wild, vanilla vines climb on trees, but on the farm they climb on stakes. The vines are protected from varmints by netting.

After the vines are planted, it takes two or three years for to mature and produce flowers. The vines flower only once between the months of July and September. Pollination must be done by hand to ensure the production of fruit. After the flower has been fertilized, the beans grow to full length within two months, and reach final maturity in nine months. The beans are harvested by hand when they turn a yellowish brown color.

Unlike other species of vanilla, the vanilla tahitensis bean does not split at maturity, allowing the beans aromas and flavors to be fully developed by the time they are harvested.

Now begins the four-five month process of curing the beans. This is how our farmer/partner cures the beans in six phases:
  • Browning – The mature beans are stacked in a cool place until they are completely brown for five to ten days. 
  • Rinsing – Only in Tahiti are the beans are rinsed in clear water. 
  • Sunshine – The beans are exposed to gentle morning sun for three to four hours per day, for about one month. During the rest of the day, the beans are stored in cloth and put into crates to promote transpiration. Little by little, the beans will lose weight and shrink. Throughout this phase, the beans are smoothed and flattened by hand, between the thumb and the index finger. 
  • Air drying – When the vanilla has received sufficient sunlight, it is left to dry in a shaded and ventilated place for 40 days to lower its moisture content. 
  • Packing – The vanilla is sorted by length and quality. 
  • Maturation or refining – The final stage takes place in the cases where the vanilla is stored. Its taste and fragrance will be greatly enhanced and refined. This stage lasts from 60 to 90 days.

The beans catch some rays in the sunshine phase when they will lose moisture and concentrate their flavor and aroma.

The beans are sorted for length and quality.

After sorting, the beans are ready for the final stage of refining the flavor and fragrance over a period of 60-90 days.

Now you may have some small inkling as to why premium Tahitian vanilla is such a luxury. It literally takes years of hand work to bring the delightful, delicate flavors and aromas to your table.

Get top-quality Tahitian vanilla beans here.