Main flavours : Balsamic, liquorice, floral
Sensations : As rare as a diamond, this variety is almost extinct
Aromatic range : Wild vanilla no other variety can match. Its buttery hints come with hints of liquorice and fresh tobacco.
Colour : Oily black
Size : + 2.5in (7cm), very wide - 2018 harvest
Origin : Basse-Terre - Guadeloupe - French West Indies
THE vanilla made for rare Vanilla lovers. The 2018 harvest produced less than 100 beans.
The beans are available either cracked or not cracked.
Warning: Last items in stock!
Vanilla started being grown in Guadeloupe and Martinique back in the 1830’s. Around the 1920’s, the crops in Basse-terre produced around 35 tons (2,204.6lb) for the French market.
Today, these islands have almost fully abandoned vanilla growing and are focused on growing bananas and sugar canes. Each year, I manage to get 7 to 10 kilos (15 to 22 lbs) of this almost forgotten Guadeloupean Vanilla (Planifolia variety). The scarification process this variety needs take an impressive amount of time as each beans needs to be hand-scarified before starting the maturing process.
Unlike with the "Bourbon process", these Vanilla beans aren’t scalded. That way, the beans keep all their powerful taste and scent. It also strengthen their enzymatic development.
The vanilline saturation creates a natural crystallisation on the beans, after months of maturing, away from sunlight. Nowadays, most of the producers use the "Bourbon process" rather than the traditional process as it is way quicker. I decided to choose producers who only stick to the traditional process in order to offer you the most authentic experience when purchasing this variety.
By sticking with those producers perpetuating this tradition of scarifying the beans, we can help revitalise this industry sector. As a result, we obtain a wonderful, authentic Vanilla with its very own aromatic palette you can recognise amongst hundreds.
Its aromatic range was an instant crush. Pompona Vanilla can only be found in the rare crops around Basse-Terre. Its banana-like shape is the reason it’s also known as the banana Vanilla. It is one of the most complicated varieties to grow with a high chance of underwhelming harvested quantity.
Nowadays, you can’t find this variety in any delicatessen. As for me, I choose only to get a maximum of 500g (~17 oz) of product per producer per year. The Irma and Maria storms damaged crops. Many Vanilla plants have suffered because of other trees falling on them and thus breaking them. My main Pompona Vanilla producer told me how complicated it’ll be to repair his farm. He also warned me that next year’s harvest would be even smaller than the previous years because of said storms.
This man is a jewel, the perfect example of the West Indian way of living. He told me last week how this will enable him to rethink and reorganize his plants, laughing. His strength and gentleness are typical of this culture, as well as his capacity to put things in perspective, even in times of great despair.
Back in 2011, my partner went to Guadeloupe and I went with her. I started selling Vanilla beans as I used to back when I was an 18 years old student in Lille. In the morning, my partner used to drop me at the Club Med camp where I started my daily journey. I would walk along the beach, selling my beans until I reached the Bourg-de-Saint-Anne beach where I could drink a 7up at Coco Nak. And then I would start walking again, trying to sell my Vanilla beans for many more hours. Some of my guadeloupean customers recommended me some producers from Basse-Terre. With them, I discovered the two main varieties available on this island : Planifolia Vanilla and Pompona Schiede Vanilla. Only a few producers offered the latter, as many producers found it too complicated to grow.
This variety is indeed difficult to grow. Most of the time, it cracks before fully maturing (8 to 9 months). The beans are then not as attractive to customers so producers have to use it to make vanilla extract. My main producer also told me that Vanilla plants were "disrupted" and that you could see them blossoming outside of the usual flowering season, making it even harder to grow it properly.
I was told that this variety was found on the island way before the first settlers arrived, back when the island’s name was still Karukera.
Last year (in 2018), I only managed to get a dozen of this grand cru Vanillas. It truly is a blessing for me to be able to offer you this treasure only a few lucky customers will be able to taste.
When you get this Vanilla, you’ll be instantly loving it. Its quality, its aromatic palette and its scent are one of a kind. It will either bring you back to your childhood memories or be a true revelation, an invitation to a gourmet odyssey.
Its thick and wide aspect and its deep dark, almost red colour make one of the most (if not the most) majestic variety ever.
If the bean is already cracked, it means it reached full maturity and its aromatic range is fully developed.
Once bought, this vanilla will stay fresh and optimal for 3 years. Past that time, it may lose part of its aroma and flavour.
Hop over here to learn how to store and preserve your Vanilla beans.
To enjoy all of its aromatic range, be sure to cut the bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds loose from the bean and add both to your recipe.
You only need to use half of a bean to fully falvour anything as long as you give it enough time to release all of its aroma and taste.
Dominique G. published the 13/05/2019 following an order made on 07/05/2019
chères évidemment, mais jamais je n'avais vu de gousses si belles!
Sandra G. published the 25/11/2018 following an order made on 18/11/2018
Un produit d'excellente qualité
Yohann Q. published the 04/10/2018 following an order made on 20/09/2018
Très bon/beau produit, notes aromatiques vraiment particulières et différentes d'une Tahitensis ou d'une planifolia. Je recommande !
Claude Jean G. published the 19/05/2018 following an order made on 08/05/2018
Romain B. published the 27/02/2018 following an order made on 07/08/2017
Produit rare et magnifique. Merci DAVIDVANILLE
Jacqueline G. published the 24/02/2018 following an order made on 18/01/2018
Jean-Marc S. published the 24/02/2018 following an order made on 12/01/2018
Superbe mais je ne l'ai pas encore utilisée
Amélie C. published the 24/02/2018 following an order made on 07/01/2018
la gousse en elle même est magnifique, vraiment garnie et une odeur exceptionnelle