Recently Baking Mad attended a fabulous workshop hosted by pure vanilla experts Nielsen-Massey, educating people about the history of vanilla and the importance of quality vanilla in baking.
Nielsen-Massey ambassador Eric Lanlard hosted the event at his shop ‘Cake Boy’ in London, where members of the media and food bloggers assembled to enjoy a selection of vanilla inspired canapes and mini desserts along with a few glasses of champagne.
Eric discussed the production of vanilla and about how the world’s finest vanilla is grown in the warm, moist, tropical climates of Madagascar. He explained that vanilla pods, or beans as they are commonly called, are the fruit of an orchid, and that of the thousands of varieties of orchid, the vanilla plant is the only one known to produce an edible fruit. The flower of the vanilla orchid opens for only part of one day and if not pollinated on this day pods will not be produced. This is why Nielsen-Massey hand pollinate each and every flower, over the two to three month flowering period to ensure a plentiful crop.
Nielsen-Massey use an exclusive cold extraction process to slowly and gently draw the delicate and distinctive flavour from the vanilla beans. This process differs from all other processes as it doesn’t use heat or pressure when extracting. The vanilla is extracted under precise temperature control at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, using a specially constructed stainless steel extractor, after the beans are loaded into the extractor, an alcohol and water solution is pumped continuously over and through the beans. It can be a lengthy process, taking three to five weeks to complete depending on the batch type being produced. The finished vanilla is then filtered into a holding tank ready for bottling.
We were invited to observe three small dishes in front of us containing vanilla essence, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. Eric highlighted the difference between the three, with the vanilla paste and extract having a denser texture and a much more poignant vanilla smell. The vanilla essence was more fluid and clear with a synthetic smell, and Eric explained that synthetic vanilla essence is shockingly what 98% of the world still use as a flavour and fragrance. It’s obvious to see that the Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Paste would bring a stronger, more amazing flavour to your baking.
Eric demonstrated his favourite vanilla recipe, a Nielsen-Massey Fraisier. Using copious amounts of Nielsen-Massey extract and bean paste he assembled this strawberry delight, topping it with toasted marzipan and hand decorating it with chocolate. Fabulous!
Every attendee received a lovely Nielsen-Massey goody bag containing Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste, Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, a Nielsen-Massey branded apron and an individually wrapped Cake Boy vanilla cupcake using Nielsen-Massey and topped with a golden vanilla pod.
Thank you to everyone who attended on the day I think we all had a fantastic time. We hope you enjoy using Nielsen Massey vanilla products forevermore to make your baking totally delicious.