One of Madagascar’s Most Famous Flavors is More Versatile than You Might Think

Its fragrance evokes cravings for rich, creamy, sweet indulgences, as the telltale black specs signify the diner is in for a real treat. Vanilla is perhaps the most widely beloved flavor in the world’s dessert specialties, though nearly two-thirds of the world’s supply of this luscious bean is produced in Madagascar and neighboring Indonesia. It grows throughout the lush jungles of the Indian Ocean coastline, with wild vanilla plants reaching great heights and the specially harvested crops found on shorter, flowering trees. The distinctive aroma that makes mouths water almost immediately is not actually present until the bean pods have been harvested, boiled and sun-dried… resulting in a simply delicious decadence.

In Episode 8 of “Crystal Cruises Presents: A Culinary Journey Hosted by Jon Ashton,” Jon and Crystal Serenity’s executive pastry chef Harold Neufang search the farms and forests of Madagascar’s first French settlement for the island’s signature Vanilla. Along the way, they find a few of the adorable treetop lemurs, a rhythmic cultural performance (briefly starring the two culinary experts) and an iteration of vanilla that neither expected.

Ultimately, the two chefs bring Madagascar vanilla to Crystal Serenity’s traditional Mozart Tea served in Palm Court, and even treat the ship’s captain and vice captain to some sweetness on the Bridge.

Keep following the Crystal Insider as Chef Jon and Crystal Cruises’ culinary team explore the flavors and signature cuisines of the world aboard Crystal Serenity.