Cookies, cakes, ice cream, pastries and deserts around the world could not be the same as we know them today without the delicate touch of this interesting spice grown in Tahiti. Vanilla extract is produced by fermenting and curing the plants’ bean pods. From the cured and dried bean pods, the chemical compound C8H8O3, known as vanillin, produces the aroma that is extracted and blended with water and alcohol to create the second most expensive spice in the world .
Tahitian vanilla is seldom grown as a single crop on a large scale. In fact, cultivation is often carried out on small unevenly shaped plots of land and sometimes among other plants. Most vanilla is planted on the windward side of the island because the plants require a lot of rain . The seeds are usually planted at the base of small “support trees,” which the vanilla vine uses to climb. As they reach the maximum height at which the farmers can reach and pollinate the plants, they are loosened from the tree and wrapped down towards the ground to create many layers of vines. Once planted, the vine takes three years before it begins to produce bean pods. The flowering season, usually takes place from July to August. To learn more about the spice visit
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