The first ice cream made using Slovenian vanilla
Ocean Orchids, which is based in Dobrovnik, presented the first ice cream made using Slovenian vanilla in collaboration with the chocolatier Podeželska čokoladnica Passer from Tešanovci. The vanilla was grown in a tropical garden in Dobrovnik and is an organic ingredient of the highest quality.
The company started growing vanilla, which is an orchid, in 2007 when it opened its first tropical garden. This year they managed to grow about 220 pods, which is the largest crop to date. As the price of vanilla has been steadily growing, the company contacted a French institute for tropical plants on Reunion Island, from which it is soon to receive a shipment of the best commercially grown varieties.
At the presentation in Dobrovnik, Director of Ocean Orchids Tomaž Jevšnik said that the company plans to expand the plantation and move forward in exploring the possibilities for growing vanilla commercially and as a spice. Among the ice cream tasters were pupils of the Bilingual Primary School in Dobrovnik who said that they gave it much higher grades than those they get at school.
There are nearly 100 species of vanilla in nature but only the fruit of three species is used as a spice. Today, Indonesia and Madagascar produce the largest quantities by far, i.e. 2200 tonnes or 80% of all the vanilla produced, although this is only 5% of the total aroma used and processed in industries. The rest is synthetically produced vanillin. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, right after saffron. Its current price is the same as for silver, reaching between 500 and 600 euros per kilogram.