This may look like an advert for Heilala but I can assure you its not, I am going to run a series of blogs on my suppliers and growers in New Zealand who go out of they're way to produce fine ingredients for us to use and celebrate what they have put so much love and care into. Without people such as these guys we are nothing. Chefs must realise to get the stuff we want we must encourage people to help us. I hope to promote the local growers and suppliers so maybe we can encourage more people to help us chefs out.
For to long people have been saying its too hard to grow this or that, but that must stop and we must try and do something a little different and maybe look into history to see what we can pick out, I have been growing most of the herbs, fraise de bois and other bits and pieces for our restaurant simply because our purveyors wont supply it. We are all to used to a perfect round tomato, mint, basil, parsley , what we would call the regular herbs, our palates are losing out as we dont get to try hyssop or pineapple sage flowers or lovage or anything just slightly out of the ordinary here in NZ. I will save the rest of the rant for another post, this one is to celebrate the guys that do something different , Thank you.
This is the first of those on my favourite Vanilla company. Heilala
Ive been fortunate enough this year to start using Vanilla beans and paste from Heilala. Heilala is a kiwi company which are growing Vanilla in Vava'u Islands in Tonga, they have also just started grow for the first time I believe Vanilla in New Zealand which they were generous enough to send me a small sample of the Extract from the first harvest from here, the taste and smell is so sweet, aptly named Volcanic Vanilla due to the obvious volcanic nature of New Zealand. I hope to get the pods from here at some point in the future. Heilala established an R&D operation in Tauranga, the greenhouse which is home to the Vanilla Orchirds is heated using geo-thermal water making use of renewable energy sources.
You can see more about this company on the web site. www.heilalavanilla.co.nz
Here is the Vanilla essence from the New Zealand harvest. Although I dont use essence in the restaurant I must say this was so good. and made the most awesome Vanilla scottish shortbread.
I created a small dish to highlight the flavours of the Vanilla that the grow in Vava'u. The beans are nice and plump and produce a beautiful Vanilla flavour and smell. its always a pleasure opening a new pack of there Vanilla. The Dish I made was very simple,
:- Vanilla bean Ice Cream
:- Fresh Raspberries
:- Freeze Dried Rasperries
:- Rhubarb Puree
:- Rhubarb and Vanilla Foam