Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeCultureRestaurants Are Ditching Vanilla Ice Cream This Summer

Restaurants Are Ditching Vanilla Ice Cream This Summer

This isn’t exactly a state of emergency, but it’s the second closest thing. There is a vanilla shortage and your ice cream situation may neveer be the same. In fact, many restaurants are excluding vanilla ice cream from menus.

Yes, vanilla has a reputation for being booooring, but that’s not the reason it’s getting dropped from the dessert roster. It’s because plantations of vanilla orchids off the Southeast Coast of Africa were destroyed. But let’s back up.

High-quality vanilla, specifically Madagascar (where over 75 percent of vanilla is grown), is very precious. In a nutshell (preferably the kind that cradles an ice cream sundae), vanilla is sourced from the pods of vanilla orchids, which have to be hand-pollinated in order to be mass-produced because they are only open for a short amount of time, leaving a small window for natural pollination.

Bet you never pictured that process as you were diving into your a la mode spoon first, huh?

Hungry Ice Cream GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

About a year ago, a cyclone knocked out about 30 percent of vanilla crops, according to Madagascar farmers. That means Madagascar vanilla is even more precious. In the U.K., some ice cream makers are paying their suppliers 30 times more for vanilla extract than they did previously. As the BBC reports, “At around $600 per kilo the sweet ingredient costs more than silver.”

So, yeah, you can see why vanilla is getting nixed off of menus in restaurants, scoop shops and anywhere else that serves ice cream.

And substitutes are, well, no substitute.

As the BBC states, synthetic flavoring called “vanillin” is not extracted from plants at all; it’s extracted from wood and sometimes even petroleum.

And not only is that fact incredibly depressing, more industries are expected to rely on it until the cost of the real thing becomes more affordable. Others are just going to ditch vanilla from their menus all together.

Until then, you’re on your own.

Ice Cream GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY



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