The History and Origins of Vanilla

Vanilla is the classic and one of the most popular flavors in the world. It is also a basis for building other delicious flavors. It is a simple flavor, but because of its simplicity, makes it a very delicious and versatile flavor to build upon. But what is vanilla really and where did it come from? How did it become a popular and established ingredient and flavor today? Read on to find out more!

What is it?

Vanilla is a spice that comes from the orchids family, Vanilla. It is made by drying and curing the beans or fruit pods. The vanilla orchid grows on vines in tropical forested areas. The vines it grows from often require around 3-4 years to flower, then it flowers once a year. Harvesting vanilla is often complicated because the fresh, green vanilla beans do not have that much flavor. Because of this, the vanilla bean needs to be cured for months. Inside the bean pods are thousands of tiny seeds which is where the main flavor of vanilla comes from. With this extensive process to procure vanilla flavoring in small amounts, the actual ready-to-use vanilla beans are often expensive, second to saffron.

The origins

Native to South and Central America and the Caribbean, vanilla was possibly first cultivated by the Totonacs of Mexico’s east coast. The Aztecs then acquired the vanilla when they conquered the Totoanacs in the 15th century.  Then, when the Spanish landed and conquered the Aztecs, they procured vanilla.

Vanilla was first used as a flavoring for chocolate. The Aztecs drank their chocolate with a dash of vanilla, and the Europeans followed once they got a hold of some. In the 17th century, this changed Hugh Morgan, an apothecary employed by Queen Elizabeth I, invented purely vanilla-flavored sweets. The Queen loved this and by the next century, the French used vanilla to flavor ice cream.

The first known recorded vanilla recipe appears in 1805 in Hannah Glasse’s The art of Cookery and the first known recipe to flavor ice cream with vanilla was found in Mary Randolph’s Virginia Housewife in 1834. The popularity and use of vanilla expanded and became an established and essential ingredient we know today, even being used by Atlanta chemist John S. Pemberton for Coca-Cola.

Rollz Desserts to try

Galaxy Vanilla rolled ice cream

Staying true to history, a vanilla ice cream base with Galaxy chocolates is used to create this delicious rolled ice cream flavor. If you love both chocolate and vanilla, this is for you!

Plain Vanilla rolled ice cream

As simple as it can get – just plain, purely vanilla-flavored rolled ice cream. Don’t be fooled, this simple but super-addicting treat is perfect for the vanilla lovers out there.

Looking for some delicious vanilla-flavored desserts? Look no further and drop by Rollz Ice Cream. We offer a variety of waffles and other delicious desserts that are sure to leave you wanting more! What are you waiting for? Visit us today!

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