kamil & helyn-
The Vanilla To You website was founded in the spring of 2012 after a trip to our ancestral home of Zanzibar where we bought some vanilla pods from a local farm. We were wonderfully surprised by the quality of Vanilla pods and other spices available and that is when we began our Vanilla Journey. We now sell online all over the world and have even been mentioned by Channel 4’s Superscrimpers programme for being excellent value for money.
We are proud to have teamed up with the Pemba foundation a charity who help small farmers to buy land and tools.
We are passionate about our Vanilla which can be used in many different wonderful recipes and we have some mouth watering recipes including cakes, ice cream and vanilla vodka on our recipe page.
Being of Omani Zanzibari descent it only seemed a logical step to add Oman’s oldest exported commodity to the website- Frankincense.
Frankincense is the sap harvested from the Frankincense tree which is grown in certain areas of Oman. An incision is made into the bark of the tree and the sap is then collected over time and stored. When it coagulates it forms the resin know as Frankincense. Omani frankincense (or Hojari) is renowned as the best in the world and Kamil has been fortunate enough to have found a source of the highest grade of Frankincense – Royal Green Hojari which is very difficult to buy outside of Oman.
Frankincense has a myriad of uses including eating as a health supplement, adding to perfume and scented oils and most commonly as being burnt to infuse your home with a wonderful smell evoking thoughts of Arabian palaces and deserts as well as neutralising any cooking odours.
The Frankincense tree, Boswellia sacra, grows in Oman, a beautiful country located at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula.. The conditions of the southern Oman coast are ideal for growing frankincense trees, which can reach 16 feet in height. Monsoon rains during the summer months and hot, desert conditions during the rest of the year help produce what is considered some of the finest and most expensive frankincense in the world.
To collect the resin of the Frankincense tree a metal blade is used to nick the tree, allowing droplets of white, milky sap to bleed slowly onto the bark.
Vanilla To You are very proud to announce that they have teamed up with the charity The Pemba Foundation to launch the brand Pemba Foods.
The foundation help small farmers in Zanzibar by providing micro loans to that they can purchase tools and land to grow crops which can then be sold to the outside world without having to go through brokers, allowing them to retain as much of their hard earned income as possible. We hope to launch the first batch of spices from Pemba Foods in August.
This is then collected 10 days later after it has hardened into a gum resin . The resin pellets are then spread on the ledge of a cave for four months to dry more completely, forming rocks that are sorted by hand.
Royal Green Hojari (or Luban as it is known in Oman), a very clear frankincense is the highest quality grade, and it is usually reserved for the Sultan, making it difficult for Westerners to acquire. . The bigger and whiter the rock, the better. Omanis harvest frankincense twice a year and believe that frankincense resin from the fall, after the summer rains, is the best.