If you were going to make up a story about a charmed vanilla farm you couldn’t make up a better fairy tale than Heilala Vanilla. Started as an aid project, the company’s vanilla is now used by some of the best bakers and chefs in the United States.
“At The NoMads, we use it in everything that requires vanilla, which includes ice creams, biscotti, celebratory cakes, banana pudding croissants and maple pecan tarts,” said Mark Welker, executive pastry chef at Make It Nice, the restaurant group that owns The NoMad, Eleven Madison Park and Made Nice. “There’s usually a little of it in everything. We use the vanilla at Eleven Madison Park right now too—our current pear dessert features it.”
Years ago the New Zealand-based family behind Heilala fell in love with the nation of Tonga both for its natural beauty and the warmth of its people. They started Heilala as an aid project in 2002 after a cyclone hit Tonga, and ever since the company has provided employment opportunities, particularly for women, and infrastructure for communities throughout the nation.
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