Daintree Vanilla & Spice

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Vanilla beans reviewed:”A grade” and “B grade” Australia grown planifolia.
Cost: Daintree Vanilla & Spice sent sample vanilla beans.

Daintree Vanilla and Spice is the first commercial seller of single source, Australian grown vanilla beans. This organic plantation grows and cures vanilla planifolia beans in Australia’s Daintree rainforest. George Gonthier, general manager of Daintree Vanilla & Spice, is an Australian vanilla pioneer.

According to George:

We have been growing vanilla in North Queensland, Australia for 10 years on a large scale in the Daintree rainforest and have been producing beans for about 5 years. We are also working in collaboration with Australian Vanilla Plantation … and building a greenhouse for the University of Western Sydney to do research.

Pollination has just started again, we start off say 1 thousand flowers. That will increase to about 6-8 thousand per day at full swing until end of November.

The pods samples are pure vanilla, no coconut oil or other oil additive. I also process the pods on the property. We pride ourselves as pure and proud to be Australian owned and grown.

If you’re thinking about growing vanilla in Australia, George can supply vanilla vines and advise:

We are not the only growers here in the far north, I know all of them as I sold them the plants. [Don't take] advice from Mexican growers, whose environments are totally different than ours. My family will guide local farmers to be successful, and we have the University of Western Sydney as support…

The beautiful Daintree website includes history of the vanilla plantation, and the family who operates it. Cameron at Daintree sent these pictures of the plantation.

Daintree Vanilla & Spice Australia Vanilla Planifolia — 6-7″/16-17cm ($100 AUD per 250 grams)
A single, beautiful Australian vanilla bean arrived packaged in a plastic tube. Daintree calls this “A Grade”, which I would call Grade A 16-17 cm. This is a gorgeous, single source vanilla bean, grown and cured in the Daintree rainforest in northern Australia.

The vanilla bean is super flexible. It is dark brown to black in color, and is waxy and pliable. The aroma is overwhelmingly creamy and soft.

The caviar is wet and oily, with a few very goopy, sticky areas. Quite heavy and thick caviar, with a beautiful oily shine. Caviar yield is average for a vanilla bean of this size.

Daintree Vanilla & Spice Australia Vanilla Planifolia — under 6″/15cm ($60 AUD per 250 grams)
Twenty-eight brown “B Grade” vanilla beans arrived packed in wax paper and foil. Daintree calls these “B Grade”, but I would call them Grade A 16- cm, because they’re too nice to deem Extract Grade as the name implies. They are round, plump, straight and short. The skin is drier-looking than the A Grade, with a nice waxy finish. Like the longer beans, these weren’t vacuum packed, thus the skin remains waxy, rather than greasy. The vanilla beans are flexible enough to tie in a knot. Their reasonable size and elegant shape make them a beautiful garnish for high-end dishes.

Inside, the vanilla has a creamy aroma that is very nice. Even though the outside appears dry, the caviar is heavy and oily. The beans are surprisingly easy to bisect. They appear hard to cut, but only require one swipe with the knife because they are so moist inside. The caviar texture is luxurious, soft and velvety to the touch. The caviar yield is above-average for such small beans.

Daintree vanilla beans are single source, grown and cured in Australia’s Daintree rainforest. Single source vanilla is a real rarity in the modern vanilla trade that is dominated by central curing houses. If you’re looking for unique, high quality, real Australia grown vanilla, then check out Daintree Vanilla & Spice.

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