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bazzaw

Any cooks here -- Vanilla beans in Tahiti

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Where I come from (Australia), Vanilla beans are VERY expensive. I just saw them in our local large supermarket and they are around $6 AUD for 1 bean. When we were in Papeete, they were being sold on the wharf area and we bought a small packet of 7 of these for $7 USD. They had larger packets - but I did not think that we would be able to get them back home through the Aussie Customs - but there was no problem!!! We could have bought 25 beans for around $12 --- :mad::mad:

 

So, apart from the fact that French Polynesia is the most WONDERFUL place -- cooks need to keep an eye out for these very cheap vanilla beans!!:) There is nothing in the world like REAL vanilla beans!!!!;)

 

Barry

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I was just wondering if anybody has brought them back into the states. I just spent about 4 dollars US on some and would very much like to buy some in Tahiti while we are there next March.

 

Does customs have any restrictions on vanilla beans from French Polynesia here in the states ?

 

Thanks

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I was just wondering if anybody has brought them back into the states. I just spent about 4 dollars US on some and would very much like to buy some in Tahiti while we are there next March.

 

Does customs have any restrictions on vanilla beans from French Polynesia here in the states ?

 

Thanks

 

They have to be packaged for export. If you buy the cheap ones that are not in a sealed export package they are illegal to bring into the USA.

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Yes - the ones we bought were vacuum sealed and had some small label/document inside.

 

Barry

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Now, what best to do with them??!!

 

Scrape out the seeds and use in recipes calling for vanilla essence - you will need to experiment a bit until you get the amount right. The empty pods can be put in a jar with some caster sugar - for sprinkling on - whatever you sprinkle sugar on in your family - it gives a delightful vanilla savour to the sugar. If you like the flavour but do not want the tiny black seeds you can use the whole pod but this really only works well in slow cooked dishes or surrupy ones - like poached apricots. In some places the tiny black seeds in the creme brulee or sauce are seen as the sign you have gone to the trouble of using the "Real Thing".

 

They smell gorgeous!

 

Colleen

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Thanks for all of the info on US customs and how to bring back the beans to the states.

 

San Carlos lady I use them in creme brulee one of my wife's favorites.

 

Again Thanks once again these boards have work well to answer questions and resolve issues.

 

Al

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Where I come from (Australia), Vanilla beans are VERY expensive. I just saw them in our local large supermarket and they are around $6 AUD for 1 bean. When we were in Papeete, they were being sold on the wharf area and we bought a small packet of 7 of these for $7 USD. They had larger packets - but I did not think that we would be able to get them back home through the Aussie Customs - but there was no problem!!! We could have bought 25 beans for around $12 --- :mad::mad:

 

So, apart from the fact that French Polynesia is the most WONDERFUL place -- cooks need to keep an eye out for these very cheap vanilla beans!!:) There is nothing in the world like REAL vanilla beans!!!!;)

 

Barry

 

Barry, I was surprised to read your post about the vanilla beans. So our Customs don't mind them at all??:confused: You just declare them?? Thanks for your advice.:D Netty

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Hi Netty

 

That's right !! - we were a bit surprised too. These were vacuum sealed ones that we bought in Papeete. We saw others being sold by native locals in Tonga , but they were unsealed. Perhaps they would not be allowed in??

 

Barry

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Thanks again Barry. I will be looking for "sealed" bags of vanilla beans. You have been a great help. Cheers, Netty:)

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Hard to imagine what the difference is between the two. I mean, usually import restrictions are based on a threat to local crops but the US isn't exactly known for vanilla beans.

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I am so glad I found your post, we are going to Noumea in Dec this year and I saw on the TV that vanilla beans were really cheap there and wondered about getting them through customs, did you declare them? I think I shall be buuying the large packet!!

 

 

Where I come from (Australia), Vanilla beans are VERY expensive. I just saw them in our local large supermarket and they are around $6 AUD for 1 bean. When we were in Papeete, they were being sold on the wharf area and we bought a small packet of 7 of these for $7 USD. They had larger packets - but I did not think that we would be able to get them back home through the Aussie Customs - but there was no problem!!! We could have bought 25 beans for around $12 --- :mad::mad:

 

So, apart from the fact that French Polynesia is the most WONDERFUL place -- cooks need to keep an eye out for these very cheap vanilla beans!!:) There is nothing in the world like REAL vanilla beans!!!!;)

 

Barry

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I brought vanilla beans back to the States without any problem. Another solution: I mailed them from Papeete to my home address in the US. We did not return directly home, but travelled on to NZ where customs are very thorough when it comes to any food, wood or natural product. I did not want them to confiscate the vanilla beans. Maybe they wouldn't have, maybe they would.

 

The post office is on the water front in Papeete. They have envelopes and packaging material just like in any French post office.

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