A Floral and Elegant Vanilla
Two of my worlds collided when both an old friend from Australia and Rose Levy Beranbaum each mentioned Heilala vanilla to me in the same week. Obviously the universe wanted me to know about this vanilla company that makes extracts, paste, offers vanilla beans, vanilla syrup and vanilla sugar. I contacted Heilala Vanilla (say “hey-la-la”) and they generously offered to send me samples. Heilala Vanilla is located in Tauranga, New Zealand and named after the national flower of Tonga. The company was started as an aid project to help a remote village on the Vava’u Islands in the Kingdom of Tonga. A vanilla plantation was established in 2005 in organic virgin soil. Coconut husk frames hold the orchids, which are had pollinated and sun-dried.
Product Description: We were sent vanilla extract and paste. The extract comes in an elegant slender neck clear bottle enabling us to see the color, which is lighter and redder than most vanilla extracts we come across. It’s a gorgeous mahogany reddish brown. We received a small 2-ounce jar of the paste and clearly states on the label that over 12 pods have gone into the container. One teaspoon of paste is equal to one vanilla bean according to the manufacturer.
Vanilla Extract – New Zealand mineral water, Alcohol 35%, Heilala vanilla bean extractives.
Vanilla Bean Paste – Heilala vanilla bean extract (water, alcohol 12%, Heilala vanilla beans), Heilala vanilla seeds, Sugar, Natural gum).
Test Kitchen Overview: These products are more floral than standard vanilla extracts and yet not as different or floral as Tahitian. We liked this very much. It is like having a third vanilla profile available to use in our baking and desserts. We found the unique vanilla flavors were best showcased in un-cooked forms such as puddings, mousses, custards, ice creams and buttercreams. The vanilla was perfectly suitable to cookies and cakes, but some nuances were lost. Try our Vanilla Meringues with Gold.
Pros: A “different” vanilla, a boon especially to all you vanilla lovers out there (and you are legion; vanilla ice cream is still #1)!
Cons: A bit pricey and not easy to obtain, but worth the purchase.
Suggested Use: As mentioned above we liked Heilala best in uncooked recipes where it’s subtleties could be best appreciated.
Where to Buy: Through Heilala directly.
Price at Time of Review: $16.95 per 3.38 fl ounce/100 ml bottle
Have you tried this product? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Bakepedia received this product as a gift for review. All opinions are the reviewer’s own.