The Vanilla tahitensis is a species of orchises which produces the Vanille Tahiti. Regarded a long time as a crossing between the Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla pompona , it would be rather under species of Vanilla planifolia . This species is definitely used at present (500 kg produced per annum against more than 1250 tons of Bourbon vanilla), but it is recognized like more odorous and fruitier. Before the years 1960, Tahiti produced more than 200 tons of this vanilla, per annum.
It is primarily cultivated in the Leeward Islands (Raiatea, Tahaa and Huahiné).
In spite of its weak use, this species is characterized by interesting characteristics. Indeed, contrary to the species fragrans , this vanilla is indéhiscente, i.e. it does not open with maturity. It remains fleshy. The producers can thus gather it with maturity, when it is with its paroxysm of taste and flavor. “Ordinary” vanilla, déhiscente, explode with maturity. One must gather it before it is walls, depriving oneself of a quality and an intensity of flavor.
Like vanilla Bourbon, that of Tahiti is drained several weeks with the sun. The pods, fermented and dried, exhale to them Parfum very much used like Arôme in many receipts of desserts. The vanilla of Tahiti must be pollinated by the action of the man, like his competitor.
The vanilla of Tahiti is now regarded as the vanilla of “luxury” because it is rare and expensive.
MoleculesThe vanilla of Tahiti is distinguished from other vanillas by its flavors. Contrary to the others, it contains, for example, of the Héliotropine, very heady perfume. The Acide para-hydrobenzoïque is also in very strong proportion in this vanilla.
The Vanilline is on the other hand in quantity much smaller. The interest for the vanilla of Tahiti redoubled since researchers found in the pods of the ethylvanillin . This molecule has a vanilla flavor whose intensity is 3 to 4 times higher than that of vanillin. Ethylvanillin was hitherto an exclusively artificial flavor. Its discovery in nature was a small revolution. This natural molecule is nevertheless in too small quantity to be able to compete with the molecule of synthesis.
- Vanilla of Tahiti
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