I have never really thought about where vanilla essence comes from. I needed one vanilla bean for the Cinnamon Bars and 4cm of a bean for the Pink Coconut Shake, both recipes from the Rawlicious booklet. So I looked for the beans in the herbs and spices aisle in the supermarket. No luck. I scoured the shelves at Flannery’s – again no luck. Then I found a bottle of them at Wray’s Organics at Newmarket.
They’re not what I expected. For some reason I thought they’d look like other dried beans such as pinto or kidney beans, but vanilla beans are the dried form of the pod with bean seeds still inside and are shown above next to the Cinnamon Bars. And they’re pricey – close to $20 for the bottle of what looks like 20 beans.
Jamie Oliver’s forum has a discussion about vanilla beans. As at January last year, they are grown in Australia and exported, and have been found in David Jones food hall in Sydney, delis and some supermarkets. Buying vanilla beans grown in Australia sounds great, but the ones that I’ve found have come from Mexico. After I use up the ones I have, I’ll be checking in my local David Jones to see if they stock Australian vanilla beans.
I’m sure it’s just me. I found there were too many distinct tastes all rolled up into the Cinnamon Bars. I think I mustn’t like anything that includes two or more dried fruits. But I had no such problem with the Pink Coconut Shake, which I finished right to the last drop… I’m beginning to understand what people see in smoothies.
I found a recipe for Living Fudge in “The Raw Food Gourmet” which I thought might work because it didn’t include any dried fruit. I rolled the fudge into little balls and then proceeded to really enjoy them… too much! I’d classify them as addictive but will make them again for sure!