The capital town of Brittany used to be Nantes, but these days it is Rennes, which is about a 40 minutes or so drive away from here, I would like to visit Nantes sometime because I believe that it has some interesting old buildings and architecture.
I was researching Vanilla, lovely stuff isn't it I love the smell, and the taste, especially the real thing not the manufactured type. The vanilla seeds come from orchids, and vanilla was used long ago by the Aztecs, they used it in drinks with that other gorgeous thing we love chocolate.
The use of vanilla in Europe takes us to the French Departément No 974 better known as La Reunion, or The Island of Reunion situated in the Indian Ocean.
The vanilla plant was introduced into Europe, around about 1500, but they were difficult to cultivate, however in 1819, small vanilla plants were brought to Cayenne, La Réunion island.
This is where Edmond Albius enters the story he was the son of a slave on the Island of Reunion. He becomes an important name in this story because at the age of 12, he invented a technique for pollinating vanilla orchids. So after this sucess the technique was introduced to the neighboring islands of Madagascar, Comoro and Santa Maria.
I stumbled upon some interesting information explaining lots about the orchids and the history about the lovely black seeds which give us the taste and smell of vanilla.
Link here about Vanilla.
Link here about Edmond.
And so of course I wondered about Edmond's mother who was a slave and that brings me back to Nantes, which sadly like some other ports, like Liverpool, became rich because of their involvement in the slave trade.
Link here about Nantes breaking the taboo.
Like I said I haven't been to Nantes but I have ventured to Rennes, so that will have to be todays picture!.
Old Timbered buildings in Rennes Colombarge.
The French word for Pod is gousse.
The French word to be in chains or shackles is entrave.
Etymology for the word slave.
Etymology for the word vanilla.....well I never knew that!