Vanilla is the lingerie of baking! It’s sensuous, decadent and inviting. Versatile vanilla is used in so many ways; pods for sauces, paste for perfect shortbread, essence for baking or divine vanilla sugar for pastries. We adore the NZ Heilala vanilla range in our Fresh test kitchen.

What is vanilla?

Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family. It has an incredible and fascinating history of over 2000 years. The large orchid plants bear a small creamy/yellow flower and on the day of opening the flower must be hand pollinated. Once this has occurred in approximately nine months a fully grown green bean is ready. This green bean then undergoes a complex and often guarded drying and curing process where the flavour develops and the pod turns dark brown/black. It is the most labour-intensive agricultural product in the world.

What is Heilala Vanilla?

Heilala Vanilla began as an aid project to assist a village in one of the most beautiful and remote places on the globe, Vava’u Islands, Kingdom of Tonga.

Using an established horticultural background and research facilities in Tauranga, New Zealand,  a Heilala Vanilla Plantation was established.

A partnership of people, united by the passion for the world’s most sensual and exotic flavour and aroma.

Heilala Vanilla practice organic growing principles in the most perfect and natural growing environment.

Their vanilla is grown in organic virgin soil, on coconut husk frames, hand pollinated and dried under the Pacific Sun, then stored at optimum conditions to ensure full flavour to develop.

Their practice of true sustainability with the local village has enabled resources for education and infrastructure, which they otherwise may not have had, and is recognised by the local Agriculture Ministry as a true example of a Pacific partnership in practice.

The result is the richest grade of Vanilla in the Asia Pacific region. A distinctive aroma, shine and plumpness. Heilala Vanilla is then packaged for each order; Pure Extract and Vanilla Paste are manufactured, and dispatched to Executive Chefs, gourmet food manufacturers and a selection of specialty retail outlets.

A partnership of two Pacific families, everyday celebrating and honouring Pure Vanilla!

Find out more about Heilala’s va-va-voom Vanilla products…

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