While some may judge you for choosing vanilla ice cream, we can assure you that the way its aroma was obtained is far from boring.
It comes after a man went viral on TikTok for warning users about the less than appetizing source of vanilla flavoring.
Where does the vanilla aroma come from?
So where does the vanilla aroma come from?
If you Google the question, you’ll see a 2013 National Geographic article explaining the origins of castoreum, a natural vanilla flavoring.
Castoreum is a sticky, brown fat secreted by beavers from the glands between the pelvis and the base of the tail.
It is used by creatures to mark their territory – and smells very much of vanilla due to their diet of bark and leaves.
Food chemists can “process” the substance from anesthetized beavers and use it as a flavor or fragrance in luxury foods and perfumes.
It is even considered “generally safe for consumption” by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Decades ago, beaver paste was used to flavor homemade ice cream, baked goods, chewing gum, and candy.
However, it’s hardly ever used in food today, except in special (and expensive) circumstances.
Instead, the vanilla aroma comes from the bean pod that you’ve undoubtedly seen in stores and on Bake Off.
Most vanilla pods come from the vanilla orchid cultivated in Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti.
This is what is used in food flavorings.
When did vanilla flavoring go viral on TikTok?
TikTok user @Sloowmoee has been unleashing the internet after starting a viral trend.
In a 15-second video posted to his 6.1 million subscribers, the creator of TikTok asked people to film their reactions before and after they Google searched “where does the vanilla aroma come from?”
He then takes a sip of the vanilla latte before Google searches the question, looking horrified and screaming, “More vanilla!”
Sloowmoee’s video has racked up millions of views.
In response to his post, other TikTok users uploaded videos of their reaction to the discovery of the aroma’s apparent origin.
Have I eaten beaver glue?
Although castoreum can be used in food and drink products, it is extremely rare due to the cost and time associated with its milking.
It’s safe to assume that every vanilla ice cream or latte you have consumed contains ingredients that are far from the butt of a beaver.
This is because the overwhelming majority of food and drink products use artificial flavors to achieve that sweet vanilla taste.
Many also contain vanilla extract, which comes from the pods of orchids.
The extract is obtained by soaking vanilla pods in a mixture of water and ethyl alcohol.
Vanilla essence is also used in foods and is typically made from water, ethanol, propylene glycol, emulsifiers, and chemically produced flavors and colors.
The few products that contain castoreum are usually made by luxury brands – nothing you can’t get at your local supermarket.
Eau De Musc (âMusk Waterâ), for example, was a limited edition castoreum whiskey released in 2018 by US alcohol maker Tamworth Distilling.
It was housed in a small 200ml vintage-style perfume bottle and sold for $ 65 (Â£ 50) a pop.
Chanel Antaeus is a fragrance by – you guessed it – Chanel that contains castoreum. It’ll set you back $ 114 / Â£ 78 a bottle.
TikTok: a short guide to the world’s most downloaded application
- TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with music and camera effects
- The hit app is best known for its short dance videos, lip-syncing clips, comedy sketches, and talent sequences.
- It is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, founded by entrepreneur Zhang Yiming.
- The $ 200 billion conglomerate acquired the Musical.ly app in 2017 and merged it with TikTok, bringing in millions of new users
- As of February 2019, TikTok and Douyin had been downloaded over a billion times
- It was the most downloaded application on the App Store in 2018 and 2019
- Cyber ââexperts have expressed concern over ByteDance’s alleged links to the Chinese government
- Defense Ministry urged employees to avoid using the app for national security reasons
- TikTok says it won’t and won’t share user data with Chinese government
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