Vanilla is a flavouring that is used directly from the vanilla pod and can be found as Vanilla Extract from places like www.foodieflavours.com/shop/flavours/natural-flavouring/gorilla-organic-vanilla-extract/. It is a popular flavouring that is used in dishes and desserts around the world.
It is a plant that is native to Mexico and Madagascar is one of the largest producers of vanilla today. Vanilla grows as a vine that often uses a tree to prop itself up, and in some cases, these vines are grown in orchards similar to wine vineyards with rows and rows of the vine growing in vast areas of land.
The Aztecs are amongst some of the first people to have reportedly used vanilla, and it was added to a spiced cacao drink that they consumed. It was a way of adding some sweetness to the natural bitter cacao beans. After Spanish explorers arrived in Mexico, the use of vanilla was expanded to their territories and then into mainland Europe. At this point, it was still used to flavour drinks but it wasn’t long before it started appearing in cakes and other desserts.
Since these early days, vanilla has been added to ice cream fixtures, cake batters like in the case of the traditional victoria sponge and is still added to drinks as flavourings. As well as being a popular choice to add to hot chocolate it is also a common flavouring to add to coffee either in syrup or an extract version.