Queen of Spices
Plant parts used
immature and ripe capsule fruit of orchid plant
Vanilla planifolia (ginger family)
smell and taste
The smell conveys security, safety and feelings of happiness, since the effect of the natural vanillin from vanilla is about 99.8% identical to that of a pheromone that pregnant women carry. When smelling the vanilla, the very first primordial information is called up in women, men and children, which triggers the feeling of security in the womb. It is not for nothing that vanilla is called the queen of spices because of its psychoactive effect.
The vanilla plant originally comes from central Mexico. It was only through the Conquistadores under Hernan Cortes that the black flower became known and brought to Europe.
The Aztecs have long used vanilla as an ingredient in the holy drink of the gods "Tlilxochill", which means "black pod". The conqueror of Mexico was invited by Emperor Montezuma to drink Kakawa flavored with vanilla, allspice, chilli and honey in golden cups.
In 1519 vanilla was imported to Spain and from 1604 to France, where the spice was used to make coffee, chocolate and perfume. However, it was not - as is well known - the French who understood the first successes with the pollination of the flowers, but the Dutch who made energetic progress on Java in 1807. However, the French show a clear tactical advance in 1841. The twelve-year-old slave boy Edmond Albius, whose father is unknown, discovered 3 years after the Dutch how to pollinate the vanilla plant easily: with a thin stick or a blade of grass the rostellum, the flap between the male and female stigma, is lifted and the sticky pollen from the anther is rubbed over the stigma with the thumb.
2022 is probably the most exciting year in the history of vanilla, because the Dutch have caught up. After 500 years, the Dutch company Koppert Cress BV has managed to cultivate vanilla on a large scale in Europe for the first time. With the highest sustainability requirements and a lot of commitment, not only the cultivation, the harvest and thus the first European vanilla were successful. It was also possible to cultivate the first so-called RED VANILLA. This vanilla is subject to the natural ripening process and ferments directly on the plant. The ends are dipped in beeswax so that the pods or capsules, as they are actually called, do not burst open.