Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation: A Spicy Education in the Rain Forest of Costa Rica by Sheri B Doyle
In the heart of the Central Pacific rain forest of Costa Rica, Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation produces beautiful spices, fruits, essential oils, medicinal plants and vanilla. Their dedication to sustainability and the planet immediately drew our family group to one of their tours. With two toddlers in tow we arrived enthusiastic to learn how vanilla and cinnamon are grown. Our tour ended up being so much more.
The guide showed us how the spices are dried in the sun, and then showed us how they harvest cinnamon from the barks of cinnamon trees. While eating samples of the cacao grown on the farm, we listened intently to all the reasons it should be part of our daily diet, as if any of us needed an excuse to eat chocolate every day! Next, we took a walk around the beautiful farm, seeing bright-orange cacao pods for the first time, admired their sustainable gardening practices and admired the beautiful flowers of the rain forest. The toddlers walked along, entranced by the lush green landscape and the very friendly guide.
After a beautiful walk we were treated to special treats made from the spices grown at Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation. In the open-aired shop we ate vanilla ice cream, sipped a specialty chocolate drink while we looked over the valley below. The kids were delighted by the treats after a walk through the farm, and we were excited to sit and relax in the beautiful surroundings. Later that year as we made homemade vanilla for Christmas gifts, we all enjoyed remembering our experience and the inspiration we obtained for cooking with vanilla, Ceylon cinnamon and turmeric.
Photos: Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation
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