What’s in it?
The ancient Mayans and Aztecs knew that vanilla had special powers and they used it not only as a medicine and to generally strengthen the body, but also as an aphrodisiac (to stimulate the sex organs). Vanilla is thought to increase sexual attraction, as the fragrance vanillin is closely related to humans’ natural sexual pheromones. The fragrance essences of vanilla are therefore used frequently in perfumes. The tricks of the perfume industry!
Whether a bottle of white smoothie increases your attractiveness is yet to be proven…
What is it?
After saffron, vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world. Wait, a spice? What’s that doing in a ‚lexicon of fruits’? The aromatic flavour of vanilla is produced by fermenting the pod of a type of orchid and this pod is, botanically speaking, a capsule fruit. However, it doesn’t count as a fruit. Spice or fruit? The fact is that vanilla tastes fab and is great in our smoothie.
There are in total 150 different types of vanilla. The most commonly used is Bourbon vanilla. In our white smoothie we use the rather rare Vanilla tahitensis, known for its delicate flowerly aroma, which comes from Madagascar.
And what else?
The food industry often suggests that vanilla is yellow. That’s not true. The yellow colour of various vanilla products, such as desserts, ice cream etc, often comes from added food colourings or egg, neither of which we use of course. 100% fruit – no tricks – as you know by now. Or in this case…99% fruit – 1% vanilla.
Vanilla originated in the region of Veracruz in Mexico, home to the Totonac people, who were the first to cultivate vanilla. Legend has it that the liane-like plant sprouted from a dead totonac princess.
After the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards in 1521, vanilla was brought to Europe. Rich Spaniards had a monopoly on it at first and illegal export of the spice plant was even punishible by death.