THE QUEEN OF THE VANILLA
Vanilla tahitensis is a species of orchids that allow producing the Tahitian vanilla. A vanilla recognized as more fragrant and fruity than Bourbon vanilla. Indeed, pastry requires 2 to 3 times less vanilla from Tahiti in use than vanilla Bourbon!
Despite its low production, this species is distinguished by very interesting characteristics. Indeed, unlike the species "fragrance", this vanilla is indehiscent, that is to say, it does not open to maturity. She remains fleshy. Producers can pick it at maturity, when it is at its peak of taste and aroma. Vanilla "ordinary", dehiscent, explodes at maturity. It must be picked before it is ripe, depriving itself of a quality and intensity of aromas.
Before the 1960s, French Polynesia produced more than 200 tons of Vanilla tahitensis by year. At the end of 2017 production is around 16 tons, that's not a lot, but still twice as much as in 2016 (8 tons). The project organized by the territorial government launched in 2013 is beginning to work. However, the global demand for Vanilla from Tahiti is estimated at 50 tons.
The plantations are mainly distributed in the Leeward Islands and more particularly in Tahaa which supplies 60% of the Polynesian production. The photographs of this reportage were made at the place called "The Valley of Vanilla" which has the distinction of being both a plantation and one of the three preparation centers of the island of Tahaa.
+ photographs of the tahitian vanilla