Spices of Fiji

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Spices Of Fiji Ltd
Website: http://www.spicesfiji.com/
Email: spices(at)connect.com.fj
Address: Wainadoi Gardens Lami, Suva
Phone: +679 3362 851
Vanilla beans reviewed: 3 Fiji Planifolia

It’s been a bit of a hunt to find vanilla grown in Fiji. Veronica Hazelman is the current Operations Manager of Spices of Fiji. According to an e-mail I received from Veronica:

Spices of Fiji still grows vanilla and also has a group of out-growers scattered throughout Fiji. We are currently selling vanilla AA Long Grade at FJ$120 per kilo. We do sell a package of 250g at FJ$50 and also glass tube pack with two vanilla beans. Shipping through DHL courier would probably be the best but expensive (FJ$100).
–Veronica Hazelman, April 1&16, 2008.

Veronica is available to accept orders by e-mail, but I considered it pretty impractical. Eventually, a kind reader visited Spices of Fiji and sent me some vanilla beans to photograph.

The vanilla beans are brown-to-black in color, with a slightly sticky skin. They have a sturdy build, and are fairly thin instead of plump.

The beans show good flexibility when bent, but have dry tips. They were mailed in plastic wrap, however, and they may have dried a bit in transit.

Although these vanilla beans aren’t the plumpest or prettiest, the aroma more than makes up for it. The main words that come to mind are creamy, sweet, rich, floral, and fruity. They are more floral and less dark than Madagascar-grown vanilla beans. The aroma of Fiji vanilla beans is one of my new favorites.

Cutting the beans left a small amount of dark, red-brown oil on the knife. The caviar is fairly dry, and comes out as strings, as shown in the pictures. There was a moderate caviar yield, but more than expected upon first glance.

I can’t wait to try the extract from these beans, the aroma was so fantastic! Currently, these vanilla beans are pretty much only available if you actually visit Fiji, but I hope they find wider distribution.

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