Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid

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Grove Press, 2005 - Cooking - 278 pages
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From the islands of Tahiti to the botanical gardens of London and Paris, "Vanilla traces the story of the vanilla plant and its secretive trade, from the golden cups of Aztee emperors to the ice-cream dishes of U.S. presidents. Vanilla has mystified and tantalized man for centuries. The only orchid that porduces and agriculturally valuable crop. vanilla can mask unpleasant tastes and smells, but also makes pleasant tastes stronger, smoother, and longer lasting. Because of its over four hundred separate flavor components. choosing premium-quality vanilla beans is as complex as judging the aroma and taste of fine wine. Vanilla finds its way into over half of all dessert products sold worldwide, from ice cream to chocolate mousse, as well as the finest perfumes., well-known brands of rum and vodka, and even Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Americans consume more vanilla than anyone else on Earth--a fact that has helped drive the price of vanilla beans and flavor extracts to an all-time high, and forced growers and traders to mount armed guard over their plants in the tropical jungle. The traders who travel the world in search of America's favorite flavor are a small and secretive elite. From Papantla in Mexico--"the city that perfumed the world"--to the South Seas, Madagascar, and the Indian Ocean islands, "Vanilla is a globe-trotting adventure that follows buccancers, aristocrats, and gourmets. all in search of the ice cream orchid.
 

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Vanilla: travels in search of the ice cream orchid

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Combining botany, history, travel writing, and social commentary, former BBC journalist Ecott chronicles not just any old orchid but the producer of a classic flavoring. In his travels to the major ... Read full review

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User Review  - Kate Bandzmer - Goodreads

An eye-opening account of the pre-plate world of vanilla. Read full review

Contents

Black Flower
1
An Indian Secret
20
The City that Perfumed the World
33
Mexican Money
54
From an English Garden
80
Ile Bourbon
94
Creole Hearts
108
The Slaves Crime
126
Empress of Tahiti
163
Murder in Madagascar
187
Ice Cream and Perfume
203
The Admirals Legacy
218
Vanilla Prince
236
Epilogue
266
Acknowledgements
269
Select Bibliography
273

Homage to Albius
149

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