Bourbon Vanilla, whole pods
We buy our Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar, where the vanilla orchids grow in the primeval forest. Smallholders take on the labour-intensive cultivation and often the processing as well. In order to pollinate the orchids, a small membrane in front of the flower’s pistil is pierced with a needle. Stigma and anther then get pressed together. An exasperating job for untrained hands. However, trained ones manage up to 1,200 flowers a day. Within six to eight months, each pollinated flower produces a green capsule which is up to 20 centimetres long and often also called a pod. Shortly before they start to ripen and their colour changes from green to yellow, the pods are harvested individually by hand. They get their ultimate brownish black colouring from a fermentation and drying process lasting many months.