Also By This Author
“While the scientific information is plentiful, detailed and readable, as the title suggests it is a story of the author’s travels, his love affair with the exotic islands in the Indian Ocean from which vanilla comes, as well as the seductive story of the fruit. . . . Ecott’s books tells the story of vanilla, the flavoring, and the Vanilla orchid by nicely intertwining his personal interviews, evocative descriptions of the plant with social as well as natural history and scientific fact.” Bonnie Walker, San Antonio Express-News
Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid
978-0-8021-4201-6 • $14.00 • Paperback • Apr. 2005
The fascinating, kaleidoscopic story of one of the world’s most exotic and sensual plants and how it transformed history
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 Aztec emperors to the ice-cream dishes of U.S. presidents. Vanilla has mystified and tantalized man for centuries. The only orchid that produces an 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 Eartha 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 buccaneers, aristocrats, and gourmets, all in search of the ice cream orchid.