Tonka beans are an unusual spice that you don’t see in everyday cooking, but have a very unique flavor that has won them a lot of fans.
Harvested from a flowering tree native to South America and dried, the tonka bean is favoured for its unique flavour and scent. The fragrance of the tonka bean, once also used in the manufacture of perfume, is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon and cloves, with hints of caramel and even tobacco
Tonka beans are used widely in French cuisine, popular with top patissiers for elaborate desserts, commonly paired with creams and custards.
Try grating quarter of a bean over scallops or use in savoury soufflés. Tonka beans also bring complex aromas to sweets such as panna cottas and ice creams – and can even be infused into spirits.
One of the most frequently used ingredients in luxury fragrances, and a sustainable alternative to relying on vanilla stocks, tonka is widely used. It features heavily in iconic fragrances with a fruity-candy aroma, such as Thierry Mugler’s ‘Angel’ and Le Mâle by Jean-Paul Gaultier.
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