Over time we have received a lot of questions about vanilla – from where it grows in Mada to what can it be used for. The most interesting was “Is there any alcohol in it”? Understandable since it has “bourbon” in the name.
But it has nothing to with the barrel-aged distilled spirit made mostly of corn.
Instead it took its’ name from the former colonies of France – Reunion – which used to be called Ile Bourbon, and where the method of cultivation vanilla without natural pollinators was found.
Now it is grown on Madagascar, the Comoros and the Reunion, with Madagascar being the biggest producer.
These are the Bourbon Isles, named after the aristocratic house of Bourbon, a European dynasty which is really only remembered today for their legacy on the name of the spice!