The history of vanilla dates back to early sixteenth century. It was Bernal Diaz, an Officer under Hernando Cortez, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, who is believed to be the first European to recognize the flavour and immense value of vanilla, when the Aztec ruler, Montezuma offered him the vanilla flavoured cocoa beverage. Vanilla flavour was first introduced to France and England during the early part of the seventeenth century. The cultivation of vanilla started in Mauritius in 1827 and in Madagascar in the year 1848. Even though, vanillas originated in Mexico, now the major producing countries are Madagascar and Indonesia. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice traded in the world market.
Vanillin is mainly responsible for the fragrance, flavour and aroma of vanilla essence. It is used in the preparation of ice creams, chocolates, cakes, pastries, puddings, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, liquors, perfumery and in nutraceuticals. At present, synthetic products such as ethyl vanillin and synthetic vanillin are used for the above purpose. But such synthetic products are being rejected by discerning customers world over, and there is an increasing demand for natural vanillin.
I am pleased that Digital Documentation Section has compiled this document as its contribution to provide technical information to stakeholders to enhance vanilla development in India. The information contained in this document has been compiled from various sources and fills a gap in the literature by providing an integrated account of cultivation techniques and methods for vanilla production. This comprehensive document is planned as first hand technical information for the present and future growers who intend to cultivate this high niche market crop. Throughout the text, emphasis is placed on a broad understanding of the vanilla cultivation techniques and methods to enhance production in India. This manuscript will also useful to Students, Teachers, Farmers associated with this field.