Madagascar Vanilla

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The vanilla orchid is native only to Mexico and relies on a rare black Mexican bee to pollinate naturally. In 1841, a French owned 12-year old slave on Île Bourbon (now Réunion Island) discovered how to hand-pollinate vanilla orchids. Shortly thereafter vanilla plantations were introduced and became commonplace on the island of Madagascar.

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The type of vanilla grown on Madagascar and in most other locations is Vanilla planifolia, also known as Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. About 97% of the world's real vanilla comes from Madagascar. However, an estimated 95% of all vanilla products contains artificial vanilla. The best quality Bourbon Vanilla, also called Black Vanilla, is produced primarily around Antalaha, Sambava, Vohemar and Andapa in the northwest of Madagascar.

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In ancient times, vanilla was said to have aphrodisiac effects and help against fever. Although these properties remain scientifically unverified, it is known that vanilla increases levels of catecholamines, including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline. In an in-vitro test, vanilla was able to block quorom sensing in bacteria. In many bacteria, quorum sensing signals function as a switch for virulence in that microbes only become virulent when these signals indicate that they have the numbers to resist the host immune system response. The essential oils of vanilla and vanillin are often used in aromatherapy.

Documentary on Madagascar's vanilla trade

Madagascar: The Chinese vanilla is a half-hour documentary that gives insight into Madagascar's vanilla production and how the trade is being shaped since recent years by an increase in demand from China.

The original French language version, MADAGASCAR Vanille Chinoise, produced in 2014 by WA Productions in cooperation with Public Sénat, can be viewed at

Google Newsfeed

Vanilla price spike is hurting Maine ice cream companies ... - Bangor Daily News
19-Aug-2017 16:01
Vanilla price spike is hurting Maine ice cream companies - Bangor Daily News
19-Aug-2017 16:01
Vanilla market sees a little better news | Food Business News - Food Business News (registration)
15-Aug-2017 16:00
Vanilla pod shortage due to Cyclone Enawo in Madagascar, patisseries and ice cream shops in Singapore also affected - The Straits Times
15-Aug-2017 04:02
Jim Beam Releases Vanilla Offering - -
09-Aug-2017 14:08
Exotic vanilla: Beloved flavoring is anything but plain, but it is pricey - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
08-Aug-2017 17:01
Ice cream review: High Road Strawberry Vanilla, decadent treat ... -
14-Aug-2017 18:16
Forget vanilla ice cream – there's now a vanilla marshmallow gin ... - Metro
18-Aug-2017 09:55
Jim Beam Unveils New Jim Beam® Vanilla, Continuing A 222-Year ... - PR Newswire (press release)
08-Aug-2017 12:18
Vanilla Shortage Is Threatening Everyone's Favorite Ice Cream Flavor - Konbini US
10-Aug-2017 23:48

Further information