We do appreciate good food and cooking with lovely ingredients, in our house. That’s why when I saw a SPICE TOUR advertised, I was super excited to sign up! Surprisingly, Lumita said that she wanted to join me…! We planned it as a “homeschooling field trip” and headed off on our tour.
The Villa Vanilla Farm is a sustainable spice farm focuses on vanilla, peppercorns (white and black), allspice, ground turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon (the “true” and “original” cinnamon), chilies, and cacao (ok, this last one is not a spice, but we’ll overlook that cause let’s be honest… CHOCOLATE!!).
We watched a skilled worker shave off the cambium layer of the Ceylon cinnamon trunk to get the cinnamon (and the look on Lumita’s face as she learned that cinnamon came from the back of a tree – PRICELESS!).
We learned that the vanilla flowers are pollinated by hand to ensure pollination (since there is just 1 bee that pollinates the flowers) and that the pods are painstakingly spread out to dry in the sun every day and then wrapped up in clothes at the end of the day for 2 months and the further dried for another year, before being ready to be sold.
A highlight for me was the tasting (I LOVE me a fun food tour cause you get samples!!!) as we got to try some delicious food created from the spices and cacao from the farm. Poor Lumita though – she wasn’t so fond of the foods (since most were different from what she was used to… She DID quite enjoy the cinnamon ice cream and was even brave enough to go and ask for seconds – in Spanish, all by herself!).
Naturally, I picked up some spices to bring back home with me! The cinnamon is slowly getting ground in to a fine powder from being beat up in my backpack. It is also providing a lovely olfactory “sound”track to our trip every time I open up that backpack! 🙂